Resting in Redlands

[by John Jorgensen, marcher from Tucson, Arizona]

Today was a “rest day” for the Great March for Climate Action. A rest day just means a day we’re not walking 15 or 17 miles, but actual “rest” is another matter!

We’ve spent last night, all Friday, and will spend the night tonight at the Redlands United Church of Christ in, well, Redlands, CA. The marchers have had a busy bee-hive of activity with forming work teams as well as sorting out equipment and ourselves as a group and individually.

I spent a lot of time unpacking clothes and airing everything out, brushing out my tent and my hair, and learning the skills of bathing out of a sink!

The gear truck, a big old Ford moving van, now has shelving! This will make a big difference in alleviating the “lost stuff under the pile of stuff” syndrome that we’ve been patiently enduring. And speaking of patience, it’s been an eye-opener that such a diverse group of people, especially committed, powerful personalities, are learning to get along and find their own style of communicating. The meetings seem too long sometimes, and really so after a long day of walking. But there is so much that needs to be done to keep this march going smoothly and it requires meetings and open communications.

We’ve formed work teams such as kitchen (yeah food!), transportation, communications and outreach, hiring committees (need some more staff!), clean-up, and camp scape that get the jobs done. We want to keep this march going and we need to support each other with our collective health, safety, and well-being foremost in mind.

Last night and tonight were excellent examples of reaching out and working with the local community as we heard presentations by marchers and members of the community. We heard a very personal story from a new marcher about why he’ll be with us all the way to Washington, D.C. All the stories were powerful, personal, and definitely from the heart. Climate change is real. People are realizing it. And every step we take will keep that realization going.