Marching in Silence

Meet Sean Glenn. She’s 21 and will graduate from Emerson College in Boston this year with a degree in theater education. Sean grew up in West Simsbury, Connecticut, and learned at an early age from her parents, Lori and Mike, the importance of taking action to make a difference in the world.

Sean Glenn

And get this: Sean wants to do the entire March in silence!

“There’s no shortage of information out there on climate change,” says Sean. “But it’s not working. Too many people aren’t hearing it. As I thought about how to communicate with people during the March, the idea came to me that perhaps the strongest statement I could make would be in silence.”

Sean has studied meditation and Buddhism, and is fascinated by the transformative power of silence on the individual. Perhaps one individual’s commitment to the discipline of silence – combined with the discipline of walking 3,000 miles – could have a transformative power on the world as well.

“Maybe marching in silence is the most effective statement I can make,” says Sean. “And the experience is sure to have a profound impact on me personally, as well.”

As I thought about Sean’s commitment to marching in silence, I considered the thousands of species threatened with extinction if we do nothing. They have no voice in the climate change debate. Their silence is audible only to those who take the time to understand their world and reality, as our partners at the Center for Biological Diversity know so well. I also pondered the silence of hundreds of millions of poor people across the world, people in places like Bangladesh. It is the poor of the Earth whose lives will be most severely impacted by climate change.

Perhaps Sean’s silent march is a statement on behalf of the countless other lives – human, plant and animal – who have no voice in what happens next. Truly, as Iowa State Representative Rob Hogg writes in America’s Climate Century, the battle to address climate change “must become our new national purpose.”

Ed Fallon