Carls go to the Climate March

16 October 2014

At the end of September 18 Carleton students and 25 St Olaf students spent 44 hours on a bus to go to NYC and back for the People’s Climate March. The bus broke down twice, there was less sleep than was desirable and it was totally worth it.

At 1:00 PM on Sunday everyone in the March was silent to recognize individuals and communities who have already become the victims of climate change and acute environmental degradation. Then the back of the March began to yell. The sound gathered and swept along the line of people. 400,000 people. I have never been in a crowd that huge, and it was exhilarating. We were all there for different reasons; some people represented food justice organizations, many came from university divestment campaigns, there were people from the Tarsands Blockade, religious leaders, radical people, angry grandmas and everyone in between. I went because last fall I got to spend a month in the Ecuadorian Amazon in a village that has been irrevocably altered by petroleum extraction. I went because we need to fundamentally change the way that our society operates with regard to extractive industries and consumption, and I went because I wanted to engage with these issues not just from an academic perspective as I do in my environmental studies classes, or as it pertains to Carleton, but as part of this wider global community that is collectively grappling with how to best care for the environment and by extension for human beings. We need creative, thoughtful, specific change to halt our progress toward an uninhabitable planet. Everyone showed up, and that in itself was a powerful statement of just how many people with diverse environmental concerns are united and mobilized for change.