Why We March

Marching is not about Trump. It’s not about pandas. It’s not about groping or tax returns or even deporting the mother of four U.S. citizens because she used a fake id to get a job cleaning motel rooms 20 years ago.

It’s about survival.

I’m not talking just about you and me. I’m talking about the survival of everything that is really important: our children, our families, our communities, our cultures, and our civilization. All of this is at risk. Not tomorrow. Today.

Look at Syria. Out of a prewar population of 23 million, almost five million are seeking refuge in Europe where, consequently, fascism is again an issue.

Then count the bodies floating in the Mediterranean and ask where they came from. The answer: they represent a United Nations of collapse and conflict: Nigeria, Niger, Somalia, Eritrea, Iraq and other failed or failing states between Timbuktu and Mosul.

You can blame this huge migration on war, religious extremism, terrorism, drought, and simple poverty. Syria, for example, was devastated by six years of failed crops before the civil war started in 2011. But these are all symptoms. The disease is climate change.

All the baseline measurements say the same thing. Atmospheric CO2, greenhouse gas emissions and global temperatures are all increasing. Climate destabilization is more obvious in the Arctic, where icecaps are melting, and the Middle East, where drought is permanent, than it is in the Pacific Northwest. But don’t be fooled by a wet winter. Syria is the future.

So we must march. Marching is about changing minds: first our own, then others. Donald Trump is a poster child for science denial, economic ignorance and political divisiveness, but he is just a mouthpiece for wrongheadedness. We must address friends and neighbors who may not accept the urgency of the climate crisis. That’s understandable. Certain billionaires and their privately owned politicians are spending a lot of time and money to mislead them.

Then we need to talk to our progressive leaders. For the most part, our governor, our legislators and our Congressional delegates are still practicing politics as usual. They are focused on housing, civil rights, health care, education, budget deficits and all sorts of important things. But they seem to think that major new investments in carbon fuel infrastructure (like LNG pipelines) are just tokens to trade in the compromise game. And so far our Oregon political establishment is making exactly no progress on significant climate change legislation.

By the time you read this, April 29 and the People’s Climate March will have come and gone. I hope you were there in Medford or Portland or Washington DC. But whether or not you marched this time, start planning for the next one.

We are marching for survival.