I am so grateful I was able to attend the Peoples’ Climate Movement March in Washington, D.C. back in March of 2017. After missing the Science March in Chicago the weekend prior, taking on a freelance job in D.C. meant flying in a few days early and joining around 200,000 people in the streets of our nations capital to protest all the negative movements pushed by our government against the environment. It meant joining the voices of people from around the world who are all suffering from climate change one way or another. It meant giving a voice to those who suffer and cannot share their own story. It meant showing the world that we, as a collective, care very deeply about these issues, and we do so each and every day.
The healthy future of our planet and all of its natural wonders is what our future depends on. It's what every other animal on this planet depends on. Without it, we're all goners. This was the first protest I've ever been able to take part in. Not knowing what to expect, I was blown away by the number of people who came out and, more specifically, their passion of building positive change for Mother Earth. I was asked what singular word I would describe my experience with, which required some thinking at first, but after looking through the full collection of images I left with, the answer became obvious: Hopeful.
The trains were absolutely packed. Wave after wave, people from all over arrived at the Metro Center stop, flooding into the streets, ready to "unfuck our world." Even Leo DiCaprio came out. The number of people who trash talk this guy, and other celebrities of various mediums, for speaking out about something they are passionate about is so strange to me. What exactly is wrong with using your fame and platform to try and evoke positive change?
This woman came to the march alone. She requires walking assistance and she still came. This is such an important topic to her that she made a sign, took the streets with her walker, and marched alongside the rest of us for hours just so she could express and share her concern. This kind of passion is truly inspiring.
Although the population of our species is way higher than it should be, we are still very much endangered if action is not taken to improve the affects of climate change.
It’s true! Each and every one of us has the ability to create change - never doubt the power you have to do so.
It never ceases to astound me how so many people who enjoy nature, and speak up about it, still do this kind of shit. I find evidence of litter bugs all the time, even in forest preserves, state and national parks. Why? I don't get it. I can't think of something more ironic than showing up to a protest march about improving our planet and simultaneously leaving all your protest materials and plastic bottles behind, in the trash. The trash. 95% of the items I found in or near the trash cans are either compostable or recyclable. There was an obvious lack of infrastructure in the ways of recycling and trash disposal, which just goes to show you should always pack out what you pack in, regardless of where you are.
The Climate Ribbon was an art installation near the Washington monument. Each ribbon had the writings of thousands of people sharing what they love and hope to never lose to climate chaos. I filled out two after asking what Nicole would like to share since she was unable to join me here. After tying up our ribbons I looked around for one I wanted to take home with me. The secondary part of this project was optional, allowing you to choose and remove a ribbon to take with - essentially carrying the concern of another home with you. Without reading anything before grabbing onto one, I reached out for a red ribbon, and what I found written on it made my choice easy; Nikky from Syracuse, NY wrote, "I don't want to lose the amazing creatures on our planet." Neither do I.
Earth Day is every day, and every single thing we do as individuals has a cause and effect, good or bad. That effect is multiplied by the billions. Think about what you can do to help reduce your negative impact. Sometimes it's as easy as not doing something anymore.
Although there were negative elements of the march, I know I'm able to walk away from this experience feeling hopeful. Hopeful because even though not everyone who attended may not know how to properly dispose of their waste, and even though so many members of the administration seem so willing to sacrifice the well being of the environment in exchange for personal gain and profit, there are and always be many who will resist ignorance and hate, unite, create empowerment, build positive communities, spread awareness, and fight for a future all living beings deserve. Every living thing on this earth depends on that fight.
There is no planet B.