When the coast-to-coast Great March for Climate Action passed through Iowa, I had the privilege of marching for three days with more than 30 people who had been marching since leaving Los Angeles on March 1. Their goal: to reach Washington, D.C., on Nov. 1 to rally for climate action.
Why have they committed to such a demanding march? Because there is a climate crisis in this country and world, and people need to take action now.
My march started August 20 in Coralville, where I had the honor of walking with 83-year old Hazel Zimmerman, who had marched all the way from Des Moines. Along the way to Iowa City and then to West Branch, I marched with 71-year old Miriam Kashia, an activist from North Liberty.
There was Jane from Manhattan, who spoke to me of her activism to stop fracking in New York state. Moshe from Boston, who is studying for the rabbinate at Hebrew College at Andover Newton Theological School, where I attended seminary. There was Berinice, a young woman taking time off from her studies at Grinnell College to do what she can to fight for climate action. Carolyn and Chelsea, from the University of Michigan, also plan to miss the fall semester because of their commitment to the climate march. And there was Bruce Nayowith, an emergency room physician from Great Barrington, Massachusetts.
Bill McKibbon’s organization, 350.org, is so named because 350 parts per million (ppm) of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere should be the limit. We blew past that in April when levels of 400 ppm were reached, with no signs of stopping, as the U.S. and the world continue their dependence upon fossil fuels.
The people on the Great Climate March are going to great sacrifices to alert people to the danger we are in. I was proud of the Iowans who took notice and stopped what they were doing to talk with us. To follow the marchers online, visit climatemarch.org.
• Charles R. Crawley is a member of the Iowa Climate Advocates. Comments: firstname.lastname@example.org.