Climate change has long been the most important issue on my radar, so when I learned of the People’s Climate March I knew that I had to attend. So it was that I, along with my 13-year-old daughter, Adara, were among fifty six concerned activists that loaded a bus at the Interfaith Community Center in Indianapolis. We made the approximately 700 mile trip to New York City, where we joined hundreds of thousands of citizens from across the nation in a march to demand action on climate.
After a 14 hour journey, we debarked at 86th and Columbus and began the 2 mile march through the streets of New York City.
As we walked through the streets of Manhattan, I was constantly reminded of all the reasons we act and all the people who are speaking up for climate action. There were political and environmental groups of course, but there were also numerous other contingents: religious communities and organizations, families, social justice groups, labor unions, and many more. Children marched along with their mothers and fathers; friends stood together with a single purpose; colleagues and strangers walked side-by-side and demanded action from world leaders. There were scientists, street performers, artists, old, and young, all coming together and raising their voices and their spirits.
It was an amazing experience in itself, but perhaps the most moving aspect for me was marching alongside my daughter. My children are a large part of the reason I decided to make this issue my life’s passion. Adara is my oldest daughter and is active in the climate advocacy community as a founding member of Youth Power Indiana and an inaugural participant in YPI and Earth Charter Indiana’s Youth Climate Camp. Hearing her lend power to her voice and her passion as she walked by my side was one of the proudest moments of my life. We all know the youth are the ones who will be most affected by climate change and we desperately need them to speak out in their own defense since there are so many in older generations who do not grasp the urgent nature of this battle.
The action of 400,000 is undeniable, but just imagine what kind of change could unfold if every person who understood the pressing issue of global warming were to rise together and demand change from our world leaders. A Stanford poll taken last year reported that 73% of Indiana residents believe that the government should take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from U.S. businesses. That’s over 4.7 MILLION people in Indiana alone who believe that “business as usual” is the wrong course of action!
The purpose of this march was to draw attention to the issue of climate change and the urgent need for action – now we must all dedicate ourselves to making sure that it is action, and not just words, that we get from our government.
Please read on for comments from fellow Hoosiers on why they marched.
“It was an affordable trip and I wanted to bring attention to the problems we are creating instead of solving on Earth. I want my children and grandchildren to live in a clean and safe world.” – Betty Lynch, Indianapolis
“I believe we don’t inherit the world from our ancestors, we are borrowing it from our children. It is our responsibility to do whatever each of us can to make climate and environments safe. My ancestors came to America from Germany and became farmers – “stewards” of the land. They paid it forward for me and I want to pay it forward for the generations that will follow.” – Pat Smith, Muncie
“Because this is the challenge of our times, and I want to align myself with people who are fighting the good fight. I believe we can change things for the better.” – Derek Tepe, Muncie
“I marched for my kids and my grandkids. I marched for a better future. I marched for everyone who is affected by climate change, which is all of us, whether some of us realize it or not.” – Rita Englum, Indianapolis
“I marched because I want to live without worrying that the world’s natural resources are plummeting.” – Rachel Lanagan, Indianapolis
“I marched because we only have one planet. It gives us everything and it’s time we start giving back.” – Devon Lott, Indianapolis
“We all can take partial blame for climate change. Now it’s our responsibility to take the steps to correct it! I march for solutions, unity, and Mother Earth.” – Linze Edwards, Mooresville
“Environmental issues are extremely important to me. I wanted a way to express that in a way that, collectively, all who marched will finally get the attention of policymakers to take whatever steps are needed to resolve the climate issue. I also wish to represent all of our non-human cohabitants – to give them a “voice” – since this “inconvenient truth” affects us all.” – Eric Van Steenberg, Indianapolis
“I marched because we need to show up, speak up, and do the work – ‘Be the change we want to see’. I fear for the natural systems that sustain us, for the diversity of life that enriches us, and for the quality of life of future generations.”
“The livability of our planet is at stake. Can’t get much higher stakes than that. The forces of power and greed and materialism have been given too much voice. We can and must reclaim our power for balance, sustainability, and healing. As humans we can learn (change) and reverse our destructive living patterns. I marched to actively create hope.” – Mary Woolitz-Dooley, Plainfield
“They wanted it to be the biggest climate march ever. For that to happen, people who don’t normally attend marches would have to go. That was me, I figured. It doesn’t feel like there is any more time to waste, and our leaders need to know that we expect them to act.”
“I marched because I feel it is my responsibility to spread the word and I have the right to take part in making history.” – Ashia George, Indianapolis
“I marched, and will continue to march, to get the attention of our world leaders, our nation, and our state – to urge them to take action on the global climate crisis. Our current path is unsustainable and the consequences to life on this planet can no longer be ignored.” – Jesse Kirkham, Danville
“I want my kids to grow up on the same planet I did.” – Carson Wright