Quantcast
Climate

I’m Somebody and I Can Do Something

I'm just one out of the million plus who traveled to Washington, DC last weekend for the Women's March on Washington. The passion and love amongst every person marching was infectious.

The signs were amazing and thoughtful. One in particular broke my heart and brought tears to my eyes. It read:

"I'm a victim of rape and sexual assaults … Planned Parenthood helped save my life ... NO SHAME!"

Just one of the many reasons I made the last minute decision to book a flight and hotel room and travel to DC. It is now put up or shut up time. It was a great day that will remain with me for the rest of my life, the first day in a long time where I felt proud to be an American. Last Saturday proved to me that we are not divided, but more united than ever. And, knowing that millions of others around the world are in this fight with us is inspiring.

Last Friday, as I waited at LaGuardia airport for my flight, I saw on the TV Donald Trump being sworn in as the 45th president of the United States. It brought me back to the night that Barack Obama won the election in 2008. That night, I cried with such immense joy. I remember sitting on my couch texting back and forth with a friend, and without quoting, I believe, she said something along the lines of: "He'll need more than four to get it done." I still have the New York Times from the day after he was elected and have since pulled it out and reread the front page.

On Jan. 20, I cried again as I watched Trump being sworn in and thought to myself, there will never be another Barack or Michelle, but we need to continue their fight and what happens next is up to us.

The fire in me burned stronger as I brought myself back to the night of Nov. 8, 2016—the night of the election. That night, it felt like someone very close to me had died. As I tried to process the results over the next few days, I decided to post to Facebook and share my thoughts and feelings. I wrote:

If you haven't seen what Dan Rather wrote, please read it. They are his thoughts and feelings and have given me a glimmer of hope. I know some of you are as devastated as me, if not more, by the result. I've cried more in the past two days than I have in the past ten years, but while I did not vote for him, he is now going to be President. Although I may not like it, and I am disappointed, disgusted and heartbroken, I have made the decision—echoing Michelle Obama's words, "When they go low, we go high."

The proudest day of my life, was Friday, February 18, 2000, Presidents Day Weekend - the day I sat in a Federal courtroom in downtown Manhattan—listened for my name to be called, and for the first time, stood and pledged allegiance to the flag, with tears of immense pride and joy streaming down my face.

As American citizens, it is our duty not only as a people, but as individuals, to get behind him, and work hard to mend the divide among the people of this country. We cannot go back, we need to move forward. We are AMERICANS, after all. We are STRONG. We are FIGHTERS. We are RESILIENT. We may have hit a low, but we will process and accept this, dust ourselves off, pick ourselves up, and continue the good fight and do everything in our power to prevent the outcome of this election from defining and defeating us ... LOVE WILL ALWAYS TRUMP HATE.

Someone in Ireland said to me on Wednesday on Facebook, "Your From Ringaskiddy, Cork Girl !! Your (sp!) not a Yank". It angered me so much. But this is my truth, I'm more American than Irish. I've lived here for well over half my life, and as soon as I became a citizen, I became an American. This country has made me who I am, given me opportunities and afforded me successes that I could have only dreamed of, had I stayed in Ireland. I came to this country in 1991 with little money in my pocket, worked hard, and now I walk proudly as an American citizen and pat myself on the back every single day, for all that I have been able to accomplish. I reaped the rewards this country afforded me, and I am so very grateful for this GREAT nation. I am living proof that the AMERICAN DREAM does exist!!! While Ireland may be in my heart, the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA is my home. I am proud of my heritage, will never forget where I came from, or what it took to get me where I am, but I am also proud to call myself an AMERICAN!!

What happens next is up to us. We MUST come together, support each other and be the best that we can be. STRONGER TOGETHER!!!!

Little did I know that what I wrote then would end up being my future truth, and so, here we are, a few days after a historic march on DC and throughout the world with millions joining us wearing our "Pink Pussy" hats. We are standing up for what is right. We are continuing the good fight and we will make sure that our voices are heard. To think that it was one woman who started this ripple effect is just a phenomenal thing. This movement reminds me of my two favorite quotes of all time by two men who died within mere months of each other and whom stood up and died for human rights and justice. Their words are as true today as they were on the days that each one spoke them:

"Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance" — Robert F. Kennedy

"I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I STILL HAVE A DREAM." — Martin Luther King, Jr.

It is up to us. WE ARE STRONGER TOGETHER. Let's keep this momentum going. Up next, the People's Climate March on April 29. See you there!

Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Sponsored
Climate
Map of damage to the town of Paradise from the Camp Fire, the deadliest wildfire in California history. NASA / JPL-Caltech

Heavy Rain Could Trigger Mudslides in Fire-Weary California

Northern California, which is already reeling from the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in state history, is now bracing for heavy rainfall this week.

The forecasted rain could bring much-needed relief for the firefighters battling the Camp Fire in Butte County. However, it could also bring new hazards due to possible ash, mud and debris flows triggered by the rain.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
A Super Scooper firefighting plane makes a water drop during the Holy Fire near Lake Elsinore, California this October. David McNew / Greenpeace

What Should We Know About Wildfires in California

By Rolf Skar

The Camp Fire raging in Northern California is now the most devastating and deadly fire in the state's recorded history. Simultaneously, deadly and destructive fires are burning in Southern California, as the Woolsey and Hill fires have engulfed iconic areas of Malibu and West Hills. With dozens dead, hundreds missing and thousands of structures destroyed, our hearts go out to those impacted across the region.

Keep reading... Show less
Health
Ambrosia artemisiifolia, common ragweed. PLOS ONE

Allergen Alert: Ragweed Is Spreading to New Regions

By Marlene Cimons

Cristina Stinson never had an allergic reaction to ragweed until after she started working with it. "I think the repeated exposure to the pollen is what did it," she said. It also didn't help that her community is chock-full of it. "There is plenty of ragweed in my neighborhood," she said. "In fact, it grows right outside my door."

Keep reading... Show less
Animals
A sperm whale that washed up in Indonesia's Wakatobi National Park had plastic bottles, bags and cups in its belly. @WWF_ID / Kartika Sumolang

13 Pounds of Plastic Found in Dead Sperm Whale

Yet another whale has suffered from plastic pollution. A sperm whale that washed up dead in a national park in Indonesia had nearly 13 pounds of plastic waste in its stomach, park officials told the Associated Press.

Researchers from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the park's conservation academy uncovered more than 1,000 other pieces of plastic, including 115 plastic cups, four plastic bottles, 25 plastic bags, 2 flip-flops and a nylon sack.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Climate
The first smoke from the Camp Fire arrived in Ukiah and turned the daylight red. Bob Dass / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Winds and Wildfires in California: 4 Factors to Watch That Increase Danger

By Brenda Ekwurzel

Before we dive into the science behind the four factors specific to the California Santa Ana winds, let's review the current situation in California and wildfire disaster risks in general.

Keep reading... Show less
Climate
A woman stands amidst the ruins of her home following Hurricane Michael; if action isn't taken on climate change, some places could face up to six such disasters at once. Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Tropics Could Face Six Climate Disasters at Once by 2100

In a year that saw record-breaking heat waves, record-breaking hurricanes and record-breaking wildfires, it's hard to imagine how the future could look any more like a disaster movie than the present. But that is exactly what researchers from the University of Hawaii at Mānoa have predicted in a study published in Nature Climate Change Monday.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Politics
Zinke tours Paradise, Calif. Nov. 14 with Governor Jerry Brown and FEMA Administrator Brock Long. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Zinke Blames ‘Radical Environmentalists’ for Historic California Wildfire

In an interview with Breitbart News on Sunday, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke blamed "radical environmentalists" for the wildfires that have devastated California in recent weeks, The Huffington Post reported.

"I will lay this on the foot of those environmental radicals that have prevented us from managing the forests for years. And you know what? This is on them," he said in the interview.

You can listen to the whole thing here:

The remarks come as California has suffered the deadliest blaze in the state's history. The death toll from the Camp Fire, which destroyed the town of Paradise in Northern California, has now risen to 79. Around 1,000 people are still listed as missing, and the fire is now 70 percent contained, according to an Associated Press report Monday.

California Governor Jerry Brown blamed climate change in a statement made last weekend.

"Managing all the forests everywhere we can does not stop climate change, and those who deny that definitely are contributing to the tragedies that we are witnessing and will continue to witness," Brown said.

Regardless, Zinke has remained consistent in pointing the finger at forest management. His current criticisms echo his remarks following other fires this August, in which he said the increasingly frequent and violent blazes were the result of inadequate forest management, and not climate change. He continued in that vein during Sunday's interview:

"In many cases, it's these radical environmentalists who want nature to take its course. We have dead and dying timber. We can manage it using best science, best practices. But to let this devastation go on year after year after year is unacceptable, it's not going to happen. The president is absolutely engaged."

President Donald Trump has indeed vehemently blamed forest mismanagement ever since the recent batch of fires broke out, even threatening at one point to withhold federal funding if the forests weren't managed properly. During a visit to California Saturday to survey damage, Trump brought up forest management again, suggesting that the problem in California was that the forests were not raked enough.

"You look at other countries where they do it differently, and it's a whole different story," he said, as CNN reported. "I was with the president of Finland, and he said: 'We have a much different [sic] ..., we're a forest nation.' And they spent a lot of time on raking and cleaning and doing things, and they don't have any problem," he added.

Finnish President Sauli Niinistö, however, told a Finnish newspaper he did not recall suggesting raking to Trump.

"I mentioned [to] him that Finland is a land covered by forests and we also have a good monitoring system and network," he said.

Finnish people have taken to Twitter to poke fun at the U.S. President's statement using the hashtag "Raking America Great Again."

Despite Trump and Zinke's criticisms, the fact remains that the federal government controls almost 60 percent of the forests in California while the state controls only three percent. Paradise was surrounded by federal, not state, forests. Further, the fires in Southern California spread in suburban and urban areas, The Huffington Post reported.

Some think the emphasis put by Zinke and Trump on forest management is not about preventing fires at all but rather an attempt to justify opening more public forests to private logging interests.

U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke speaks with land managers, private landowners, university staff, and the media about federal forestry and land management at Boise State University on June 2, 2017. USDA photo by Lance Cheung

Animals
Dolphin found with a bullet wound in California's Manhattan Beach. Marine Animal Rescue / Facebook

'Senseless Killing': Dolphin Found Shot Dead on California Beach

How could anyone shoot a dolphin? A dolphin that washed up dead in Manhattan Beach, California died from a bullet wound, according to local animal rescue workers.

Earlier this month, Peter Wallerstein, the founder of Marine Animal Rescue, responded to a call about a stranded dolphin on the surf, according to NBC News. By the time he arrived at the scene, the marine mammal was dead.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!