Today the people marched. Last count I saw estimated 310,000 people in Manhatten alone. Among them Ban Ki Moon, Al Gore, Jane Goodall, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and countless celebrities such as Lucy Lawless, Evangeline Lilly, Leo di Caprio, Mark Ruffalo, Edward Norton, Kevin Bacon and wife Kyra Sedgwick, and wonderful Emma Thompson.
London marched with 40,000 participants, Melbourne turned out 30,000, and thousands in Paris, Berlin, Sydney, Barcelona, Rio, Madrid, Delhi.
People showed up everywhere. More than 2,500 events were coordinated in over 150 countries around the world. Banners were printed or hand drawn, mounted and carried. People dressed up as trees or as Captain Planet. And a lot of noise was made.
On Tuesday 120 world leaders will convene at the UN to discuss global reduction of carbon emissions.
What better time to organize events like this to send a message to those we elected as our leaders?
They speak not only for the human race, but for all life on Earth that shares this planet with us and has no voice of its own.
But hundreds of thousands of voices are still not enough among 7 billion people alive today. And the noise they’re making has no monetary value either.
The climate change we’re facing affects every aspect of our lives, and that of every other living thing on this planet. It will be an economic crisis before long, it already is a healthcare crisis, which is mostly felt in the developing world.
California is suffering a drought and dozens of wildfires are currently burning, destroying not only homes, but the national forests. 2014 had the hottest summer on record and not just in the US. It will likely turn out to be the hottest year on record as well.
Yet Texas school books may very well teach your children that only some scientist believe that climate change is caused by humans (in reality 97% of all scientist call it a fact) and that most scientists are unsure if it is even a reality.
One day of marching, as impressive and inspiring as it is, will not be enough. We have to, each of us, make a difference every day. Take the bus, or any other means of public transport, or a bike to work. Walk, if it’s a short distance. Drink filtered tab water instead of buying bottled water. Reduce the amount of meat you eat (yes, that reduces your carbon imprint vastly, because producing beef is one of the worst culprits in releasing greenhouse gases). Recycle. That’s a no-brainer.
And teach your children. You’re doing this for them and their children, unless you really don’t care. In that case, though, don’t be a selfish jerk and drag everyone else down with you. In German we say “Nach mir die Sintflut”, which mean’s literally “after me the deluge”, and just expresses a devil may care attitude.
I don’t know that I will have children of my own, but that doesn’t mean I don’t care. There are many ways in which we can contribute and many ways in which we can make ourselves heard outside of participating in record breaking climate change marches.
Vote green in your home country when it comes to election time. Green parties will likely never rule a country, but having representatives in the senate or congress, or whatever governing body rules in your country, means that someone can speak on your and the environment’s behalf.
And if you don’t believe that climate change is real, what’s the worse that can happen?