We, the people of Earth, in order to maintain a livable planet, demand justice, expect government leadership, offer our knowledge and support, promote our requests, and provide a secure future for us and our posterity, do step forward and speak out with our vision of change for the world. ~Madeline Goodwin, 09/18/2014
As you may have heard, 350.org is organizing a big, huge, ginormous march in New York City for September 21st, the day before world leaders convene there in U.N. headquarters for a climate summit. Your reaction is probably, “okay, there’s some big rally going on. Why should I care?” Well, here’s a few reasons why. Climate change is THE issue of the 21st century. It’s been linked to increased conflicts and terrorism, and threatens the economy. Common-sense measures such as subsidizing and installing solar panels, capping carbon emissions from power plants, and halting exploration and mining for more fossil fuels – we already know of five times more fuel reserves than we can afford to emit to keep planetary warming under 2° Celsius (the internationally agreed-upon limit).
So… what’s that got to do with the People’s Climate March? Let’s look at the Preamble for the United States Constitution:
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
The United States of America is an example of what happens when people decide that enough is enough and change needs to happen. Our voices, around the world, matter in creating a better place for all of us to live. This march may seem like just another protest, and here’s the thing: it is. Sure, it’s bigger (I’ve heard rumors of over 100,000 people attending just in New York, to say nothing of the solidarity events happening around the nation and the world). However, every protest matters. Every time a crowd of people stands up, it makes change happen. Look at the suffragette movement, or the civil rights movement, or the environmental movement of the 1970s – and that’s just here in the U.S.
Now you’re probably saying, “Okay, I get it: it’s important. But there’s tons of other people going, so why should I?” My answer has two parts. First, if everyone thought that way, we’d be waiting for a looooong time. Second, by being aware but not taking a stand, you are as guilty as those behind this issue.
Here’s another reason: because the world is a pretty depressing place right now. People are dying or getting killed for no good reason, the environment is getting trashed for corporate profit, and most of us are just sitting going, “well, what can I do?” This is what you can do. You can get up, go out, and speak up. You can join the march. You can know that you are not alone in this fight. If enough of us get together, we can change the world with our very presence.