What the People’s Climate March Did for Me

by Guest Blogger

September 30, 2014

This guest blog was written by NYC Greenpeace Volunteer Steve Buckley

The blog was cross-posted from Greenpeace Greenwire,Greenpeace’s new social network for volunteers. Greenpeace Greenwire is built to allow for online connections, coordination and community, while also helping to facilitate in-person connections between users and activities. On Greenpeace Greenwire users can search for support, share information and have fun connecting with others who share their goals and passions. Sign up today!

So I know I am about a week late but I decided after spending the last two months focused on this march I needed a bit of a break and in all honesty a little detox from activism. I know that this movement deserves nothing less than our full attention and commitment. But to be able to do this work we do need to take a break from time to time and I have to admit that I did not heed that advice as much as I should have. Whenever colleagues tried to get me to rest I would say some meaningless thing like Ill sleep when Im dead or Ill stop when we win. While those are great sentiments, they are very counter productive to organizing, because I cant organize or do anything effective when I dont sleep or take care of myself.

I never realized why so many people harped on getting rest when there was so much that needed doing, I felt like if stopped for two seconds I wasn’t doing my part. It took me working nonstop to pull of this amazing march to take a second to myself. Then when I looked around at the thousands of people marching with me I thought to myself, I can rest now, I can finally take a break because I will never be alone in this fight. Its a little sad that it took 400,000 people to convince me that I dont need to work myself into the ground to be a great organizer but such is life.

While that was an important thing to learn what the march actually did for me is what I had hoped it would do. It united us, all of us. From workers to ministers to amateur hippies like me, we all came together for climate justice. In one of my older blogs, I wrote about finally having a climate movement that isn’t just about the environment but a movement about justice, morality and humanity. I am overjoyed to be able to say that I saw all of those things finally come together. I am happy to be in the position to say we are finally having a discussion about addressing the major underlying problems when it comes to environmental destruction.

We are finally talking about how race and class are major factors in which areas bear the worst of the climate impacts and environmental degradation. We are talking about how people in power have decided that some lives matter less than others. We arent just talking about how injustice factors into the problem, were trying to tackle the injustice within the paradigm of the new green economy. We are having a discussion not only about creating a new green economy, but creating one that has fair paying working blue collar jobs and gives people the ability to live in an equitable way. We are finally trying to get justice for our brothers and sisters all around the world who are feeling the first impacts of climate change and are not only the least able to adapt but are most often theleast responsible for the changing climate.

Knowing the whole movement is moving towards justice did so much for me personally. It made me feel a range of emotions and thoughts I hadn’t thought possible, it inspired me, it motivated me, it even shocked me a little bit, but most importantly it gave me hope. It gives me hope that 400,000 thought climate justice is important enough to march in the streets of New York for hours on end. Its gives me hope that Ill never be alone.

So being I no longer feel alone fighting this fight, I can rest easy without feeling like the weight of the world is on my shoulders. And even on those late nights or long weeks when the weight of it all crashes down on me, I know that I have 400,000 friends to help me carry it and it feels great.

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