Two thousand miles lay ahead for the nearly 40 marchers who departed from Los Angeles in February and will arrive in Washington, DC, in November. Their feet tell the story of walking a thousand miles for climate justice. Their eyes look across the United States.
The Great March for Climate Action threads through small towns, big cities and wide-open wilderness. In each area, local residents join the marchers, who also visit schools, churches and community organizations, raising awareness about the causes, effects and impacts of climate change on our society. If left unaddressed, climate change could reach catastrophic levels, heralding the collapse of modern civilization and ultimately, the extinction of the human species.
Critics of the march say it is mainly symbolic, yet in one small Northern New Mexico town, the climate marchers had a tangible effect: The local newspaper reported on their arrival. While this may seem insignificant, the newspaper in question, like many others across the country, does not report on the subject of climate change. The arrival of a cross-continental delegation of climate marchers who have been traveling through major cities, small towns and the state capitol of New Mexico received one of the first mentions of climate change by the newspaper. This is one of the main goals of the climate march: to raise awareness of the issue in a nation that is ill-informed and often ignorant of the science and reality of climate change.
While mainstream media has remained quiet on the defining issue of our time, alternative journals have been reporting tremendous news about the climate justice movement. The Cowboy and Indian Alliance erected teepees on the Washington Mall to protest the Keystone XL pipeline. Four hundred students were arrested in an act of civil disobedience in Washington earlier in 2014. Germany is setting world recordsfor renewable energy development to fight global warming. Seventy-five thousand citizens have sworn the KXL Pledge of Resistance to engage in civil resistance to the Keystone XL pipeline. Every week, numerous climate justice or fossil fuel extraction demonstrations occur in cities and towns across the nation. Small and large-scale solar and wind installations are among the most rapidly growing sectors of our stagnant economy.
Great March for Climate Action. (Credit: Dariel Garner)There have been some breakthroughs: in 2012, Hurricane Sandy broke the almost deafening silence on climate change during the presidential campaigns and more recently, the Los Angeles Times announced that it would no longer publish the articles or opinions of climate change deniers. Yet, in general, mass media is shifting slower than the Titanic on this issue, leaving alternative journalism and independent media to pick up the slack. Will newspapers, television and other media shift fast enough to give citizens the information they need to make wise decisions regarding climate change? (Listen to Occupy Radio interview climate marcher, John Abbe)
In Northern New Mexico for example, the local newspaper did not report on the 2013 Los Alamos National Laboratory study on the impacts of climate change on the Southwest forests. In eight years, the study found, the region will reach "megadrought" conditions as the new normal. As early as 2033, due to drought, stress, disease, fires and insects, the forests of the entire southwest may be gone. These statistics affect the lives of the local community in everything from real estate to tourism to disaster preparedness in homes and emergency funds set aside at the city and county level. It impacts the decisions around the dwindling water supply and also how the regional forests are managed for fire and disease prevention.
Yet, most citizens are unaware of the severity and immediacy of the climate change impacts happening around them.
The media is largely responsible for the general ignorance of the populace on a subject that 97 percent of the world's scientists agree on.
The climate justice movement has struggled with this gross public deception for over 30 years. The Great March for Climate Action is one effort to break through the appalling lack of public awareness, but efforts are needed in every town and city. Even as increasing numbers of citizens sign up to commit civil disobedience to stop the Keystone XL pipeline or book flights to join the People's Climate March in September in New York, regular, persistent local actions will be required to shake off the lethargy of public officials and local utilities.
Climate change needs to be on the lips of every city council member, county commissioner, state and federal representatives, BLM (Bureau of Land Management) managers, and public regulatory commission members. Citizens need to show up at meetings demanding to see adaptation studies, energy transition plans, disaster preparedness overviews and water management plans. People must contact their public utilities and go to public or shareholder meetings to raise concerns and demand shifts from fossil fuel-based energy sources into renewables. Individuals and groups can assist the divestment movement that has moved billions of academic investments out of fossil fuel stocks. The divestment movement can be expanded from educational institutions into individual investments, bank portfolios and other organizations.
The deafening silence on climate change must be countered by courageous truth-telling by ordinary people. Across the whole country, in small towns and large cities, the cry must echo again and again: climate change is real, and we are going to meet its challenges - not tomorrow . . . today!
Copyright, Truthout.org. Reprinted with permission. Link to original article
If you have a Twitter account you can help stop Fast Track on the TPP. Sign-in to your Twitter account and copy and paste the Tweets from our Twitter storm. Or you can copy your favorite Tweet and then click on the map and Tweet your legislator.
Twitter Storm Tweets for Tuesday, January 28th @ 9pm Eastern
Tweets for the special State of the Union Twitter Storm will be posted on January 28th at 8pm EST. Check back for the new Tweets.
Click here to quickly find your member of Congress by putting in your home address. This site also features a one-click link to the same information in Spanish
Then call and ask them to oppose Fast Track on the Trans Pacific Partnership.
Sample script is below.
“I'm a constituent, and I am strongly opposed to my representative giving away Congress’ constitutional authority to control our trade policy. We send people to Congress to stand up for us, not give away their power to stop more American job offshoring and protect us from dangerous imported food that doesn’t meet our safety standards. This latest so-called trade deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), would not only do that - but also ban Buy American and increase our medicine prices. That’s why it’s crucial that Congress not give away its authority to make sure every provision of TPP is in our interest before this massive deal can be signed. Good trade deals don’t need to be railroaded through Congress using Fast Track. I hope my representative will commit to opposing this outrageous legislation.”
Send an email directly to your Senators and Representatives courtesy of our partners at CWA. Enter your zip code and your members are automatically selected.
Congress only has one more week in session this year, the week of December 9. So far our pressure to stop the TPP has been working. Visit Flush the TPP for calling scripts and links to Members of the Ways and Means Committee.
Flush the TPP