By Laurie Casey
It's not every day you meet national activists and get the chance to make history with them. On Saturday, September 6, ten Green Community Connections members and more area residents joined marchers at various points along the Oak Park-to-Chicago leg of the Great March for Climate Action. Billed as the "longest climate march in American history," the Great March for Climate Action's goal is to "change the hearts and minds of the American people, our elected leaders and people across the world to act now to address the climate crisis." Along our walk through Oak Park, Austin, Garfield Park, the Loop, Grant Park and a rally in Daley Plaza, we chatted with the 35 people who are participating in the entire 3,000-mile, 7-month march from Los Angeles to Washington DC. We also met and talked to Ed Fallon, the founder and director of the Great March for Climate Action. (See our interview with him below.)
Join Chicagoans in NYC for the People's Climate March Sept. 21
You can still join the largest climate march: the People's Climate March, in New York City on September 21. At least eight members of Green Community Connections and the local chapter of Citizen's Climate Lobby are going. Will you join us? Most of us are taking a bus organized by the Sierra Club's Chicago chapter. Get the details here: https://www.eventjoy.com/e/il-bus-to-peoples-climate-march
This march in New York City, organized by 1,000 partnering organizations, including 350.org, is timed to coincide with the United Nations Climate Summit, when hundreds of international leaders will gather to work on developing solutions to the climate crisis.
Despite massive public demonstrations and protests, world leaders have failed to make progress at previous summits. During the ensuing years, scientists have continued to report devastating news about the effects of climate change on people, wildlife and ecosystems.
The world's citizens are becoming more aware, concerned and activated. Once again, on September 21 in New York, tens of thousands of people will gather to push our world leaders to take serious, immediate steps to address the climate crisis. We need your voice! Learn more about this march: http://peoplesclimate.org/march/
“There is no replacement, in the digital age, for human bodies standing as one, hearts beating as one, voices raised as one, making a political demand.” -- Chris Hayes, MSNBC host and leading progressive writer and thinker, in the documentary Disruption.
Interview with Ed Fallon, founder and director of the Great March for Climate Action
GCC: Why are you doing this march from Los Angeles to DC? It's a long way!
Ed Fallon: We want to bring attention to the need for climate action. Our government won't act unless more Americans urge them to act. We are inspired by all of the great marches in American history, like the march for women's suffrage and the civil rights marches of the 1960s.
GCC: It's easy to be cynical about the lack of political will to act on climate change. Do any of our political leaders really care about this issue?
EF: When I served as an Iowa state legislator for fourteen years, I got to meet a lot of people in government who really do care. But it can be politically risky for them to take a stand. Many are concerned, but they need the American people to motivate them to take action.
GCC: Of the cities you've been through, which ones have been the most activated around climate action?
EF: We had a great start in Los Angeles. The energy in Denver was great. And Des Moines, where I'm from, was wonderful.
GCC: How will you hook up with the People's Climate March on September 21? Will you walk there too?
EF: Walking across the country has been intense enough. We're going to pick up a bus in Ohio to get to New York City. Then we'll return to Ohio and continue our walk to Washington DC.
GCC: When the march is over, what's next for you?
EF: I'm tired! After a few weeks' rest with my family, I'll get back to my talk show, "The Fallon Forum."
Learn how you can support the marchers on the second half of their journey to DC: http://climatemarch.org/