Wednesday 11 March 2015 at 19:28Why We March for Climate
by Alex Price, Digital Engagement Manager, OurVoices
People often ask what marching achieves. On Saturday evening, filled with enthusiasm from participating in London’s “Time to Act” climate march, a friend asked me if I really felt we’d achieved anything by marching that afternoon.
This skepticism about the power of marching boils down to a misunderstanding about the purpose of this march.
It’s true, that afternoon wasn’t going to convince Shell to pack up shop, the Republicans to embrace solar energy, or the Saudis to turn off the tap to their oil fields. But that was never it’s purpose.
One of the greatest obstacles to climate progress isn’t Shell or BP—it’s our friends and families, our colleagues and classmates. Climate change still isn’t seen as a crisis by so many people in so many parts of the world. In a recent study, 1 in 3 had never spoken about climate change to another person. Never, not once.
We’re facing a crisis, the scale of which humanity has never known before, and a third of us, have never mentioned it aloud. Climate is too abstract, too complicated, too far in the future, or too far from our homes. This is our biggest challenge, breaking through to those people closest to us.
That’s why we marched—to crack this topor, and inject some diversity, passion and humanity into the crisis.
Because it’s clear that repeating the statistics and talking about distant sea level rises isn’t going to break through the deadlock. People are sadly a short term and local bunch for the most part. If we’re going to succeed we need to show people why climate matters to them personally, to engage emotions and our spiritual side.
The march on Saturday showed we’re moving forwards. Among the 20,000+ people that marched, there were young Muslims, students, families, old-school green groups, churches, anarchists, trade unions, and so many others, walking together, demonstrating the amazing diversity of the climate movement.
This year it’s on us to make sure we reach out, not just to our leaders, but to neighbours, friends, and families, and transform climate from an issue for science and politics, into a cause for everyone.
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Photo via flickr user D B Young