[By: Mary DeCamp]
The Great March for Climate Action will be in Washington, DC in two weeks. What will this last leg of the journey be like?
When this cross-continental walk began on March 1, 2014, we didn’t quite know what to expect. What a wild idea – get a group of heretofore unacquainted activists to throw in together for eight months of walking and camping and talking and listening. We had to figure out how to move people along at a reasonable pace to make our targeted arrival date of November 1 in Washington, DC. We had to feed people, transport their gear, tend to their medical issues, and deal with their poop – both physical and psychological – all along the route.
And somehow, we have made it happen. We have stayed together. We’ve eaten wonderful meals and some not-so-good food during the past 7.5 months. We’ve enjoyed song and dance around campfires. We’ve lost sleep as train whistles continually hounded our outdoor campsites. We’ve despaired together about the dirty industrial presence that intrudes upon us as we make our way eastward. We’ve seen great beauty in our national forests and community parks. We’ve watched the seasons change and the landscapes shift as we cross the country. We’ve had rallies and potlucks and presentations and teach-ins and home-stays all along the way.
The daily exposure to each other in our small traveling band has led to deepening feelings as we explore what we love and what we loathe in each of our companions. The social fabric is woven with many threads and some of our colors and textures clash instead of complement one another. But we find ways to make it through the days. We find hands to hold, shoulders to lean on, and footsteps to follow among our unlikely band of activists.
What a wonderful life-changing experience the Great March for Climate Action has offered us in 2014. How will future years measure up when we compare them against the intense involvement of this year? Will we feel the investment of time and energy was a wise one? Will we more deeply appreciate the comforts we put on hold once they become familiar again? Hot showers, warm beds, solid walls to protect and/or provide privacy have been in pretty short supply on this March.
Will this adventure prepare us for even more dramatic actions? Should we take bets now on which Marchers will end up in jail or in office or in the news for whatever reason? Who will slip back into the “normalcy” of everyday life in America? Can you go back to sleep once your eyes have been opened about how our energy consumption endangers our very existence?
I’ll end the Great March for Climate Action with gratitude and with profound respect for all those who said “yes” to this wild idea. It has taken a lot of energy and effort to get from there to here, and so many people have contributed in big and in small ways. We are but another ripple in the awakening consciousness, but I’m really happy that I was able to participate in the endeavor, and that my little dog Birdie got to come along for the ride. She’s had the adventure of a lifetime, too!
Please consider joining us in Washington, DC as we march from Bethesda, MD on November 1. It’s not too late for you to be a boots-on-the-ground Marcher, too! And if you cannot join us there, please be a Marcher in your own community, raising awareness and inciting action on how to build a better world, one step at a time.