Young and Active - standing up for Climate Justice

Change is Simple Intern Ruth Neuhauser, a Sophomore at Northeastern, went to the Climate March with over 200,000 others in D.C. last month and writes about her experience in this next Change is Simple Blog installment...


♪ When our planet’s under attackWhat do we do?

Stand Up, Fight Back! ♪

The People’s Climate Movement drew over 200,000 people to DC in April, myself included.

I took two days off of work and two overnight buses to join the ranks, arriving to a warm, sunny Friday in the capital. I stopped by an art store to grab supplies and made the sign you can see here.

The day of the march was sweltering– like the region decided to prove our point with a nice taste of climate change.

I had signed up to volunteer for the march, so Saturday morning I left the house just before 7am. Once I got to the march,  lines of people waited to check in as volunteers, while nearby breakfast had been provided. I was handed a pink marshaling shirt.

I’ve been to more marches in the last four months than in the rest of my life altogether. Women are returning to their activism that they left behind in the 80’s- holding late night meetings after work, planning resistance.

I met a couple who drove up from Louisiana.  One of them said to me “. . . I thought it was over. It’s nice to see all these young people out, supporting this. We were so worried we’d never see anything like this again.”

And a whole contingent of youth from Minnesota. I ran into a woman I knew from Oregon, whose recently deceased husband was a climate activist through photography (check out Gary Braasch). I saw ten other people from Northeastern and weaved my way through throngs of people I had never met before: yet here we all were, prepared to join forces.

Demonstrations like the People’s Climate Movement are important because of the solidarity they build. Marches are showy and loud (literally). They are a very visible representation of the power behind a movement. When you’re in them, they are awe-inspiring and energizing. You can see all of your allies and the passion they have as they shout out chants and rhymes.  

When people come together en masse in such a way, there is no feeling alone in your struggle. Those on the sidelines feel strengthened. In this march in particular, marginalized communities who bear the brunt of climate exploitation led the way, the frontlines for climate defense in their lives and at the head of the march.

My life is not the same as the rest of the march attendees. But when I left the march, when each person left, the feeling of hope and inspiration stayed. A display like a march drives people to return to their own communities, empowered.

Each person there has a reason. Each person there has a voice and a connection that can make change. Each person has a community. When the marchers return home, it’s time to take local action.

You show up. You see the passion for change. You go home. And you make your own change.
 


One! We are the people

Two! A little bit louder

Three! We want climate justice for our planet

 

This is a call and repeat

This is a call and repeat

 

I believe

I believe

I believe that

I believe that

I believe that we

I believe that we

I believe that we will

I believe that we will

I believe that we will win!

I believe that we will win!

[this turns into many rounds of this last line at different tempos]
 

You can’t drink oil!

Keep it in the soil!

 

The people gonna rise like the water

We gonna calm this crisis down

Hear the voice of my great granddaughter

Singing “Climate Justice Now”

 

That’s bulls*t! Get off it!

This land is not for profit!  

 

When our planet’s under attack

What do we do?

Stand Up, Fight Back!