On April 29th, I went to the People's Climate March in Washington, DC, which was held to protest the current administration's attacks on the environment, including the recent slew of budget cuts in the E.P.A. More than 150,000 people from all over the country attended, exceeding the estimated 100,000 turn out by the National State Park officials.
The purpose of the People's Climate March was to pressure our nation's leaders to act on climate change as opposed to dismissing it, or denying it which seems to be the case in our current administration. It was well organized and timely, marking President Trump's 100th day in office, who was not in Washington but at his home in Mar a Lago, FL, a trip that costs taxpayers an estimated 3 million dollars--which could result in the highest amount a president has accumulated for vacation time if he continues his weekend get-a-way habit (http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/white-house/trump-s-mar-lago-travel-triggers-cost-ethics-concerns-n743541). The irony continued when the temperatures reached 96 degrees on a spring day when the average was 66, a daunting "new normal" that did not escape the attention of the protesters.
The good news is there are many more fighting on the right side of the environment than not. Communities are coming together all over the world out of a need and desire to protect and honor the earth. Whether it's an urban tree planting, introducing legislation to eradicate plastic shopping bags, cleaning up a local stream or contacting your local State Senator or House of Representatives (PLEASE DO THIS) to support environmental bills and complain about cuts, the most important thing any of us can do is to get involved. Organizations such as 350.org: https://350.org/ Greenpeace: http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/getinvolved/ and More than Scientists: http://morethanscientists.org/get-involved/ are great resources on how you can help.
The message remains the same in any protest--we are stronger when we collaborate. Mass mobilizations create change. And slowing down climate change IS possible if we take the giant first step so many refuse to do: admit we have a major problem and our world's health is in crisis.
As I left the march and got into my car, I found myself feeling unusually calm and optimistic. Just taking the chance of driving 50 miles rather late-ish in the afternoon to DC, snagging the perfect parking spot and then jumping into the front of the march line where I screamed my lungs off for an hour seemed to be the exact thing I needed to do on an abnormally hot Saturday afternoon. Being engulfed in a sea of thousands of like minded souls whose passion and reverence for the earth made me remember I am but one of many who are willing to fight for solutions to protect the only environment we will ever know. That day, I managed to find hope in a vast crowd of passionate, determined earth worshipers whose idea of change was, well... quite beautiful.
All photos by C.A. Langrall, April 29, 2017. Washington, DC.