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In Defense of Our Earth — A People’s Climate March

I think it can be fairly said that we are a people who believe in a better future. That the ideals of America are founded on building prosperity and expanding prospects — not only for ourselves, but for our fellows and for those generations that are to follow.

Americans have often been described as a ‘can-do’ kind of people. A people who will undertake any challenge to advance or protect our nation and to graciously extend her kind virtues to the huddled masses of a troubled world. Be it the freeing of slaves, the emancipation of women, the facing down of tyrannical dictators, the liberation of scientific inquiry, or the exploration of our Earth and the vast realm of space we have doggedly decided to march forward and on.

But today we are confronted by a new trouble. A trouble that was, in many ways, an unintended consequence of past progress. For as we industrialized, as a nation and as a global society, we also burned ancient carbon deposits long buried beneath the Earth. And so we expelled a great cloud of the most dangerous of gasses into the Earth’s atmosphere.

We didn’t know it so well at the time. But the carbon dioxide spewing from William Blake’s dark Satanic Mills was the same gas that in excess produced the worst and most horrific global die-offs in the great and deep, deep history of our Earth. Times of great mass extinction due to rising global heat that bear the infamous names — Permian, Triassic, Paleocene, Devonian and Ordovician. Blake, living today, would be terrified how right he was to call those mills Satanic. To learn what our scientists now have told us. But even then, he surely had an inkling. For the Bible itself warns — those who destroy the Earth shall be destroyed. And in 1808 the wanton destruction of the Earth and its airs by the pollution caused by fossil fuel burning was visibly evident if not so scientifically proven and explored as it is today.

Today, if we continue to burn fossil fuels as we have for the past 200 years or so, the world will again surely experience another such extinction. We already see the outliers of this crisis now — in the growing number of people bereft of land and home and livelihood as seas rose, or crops were destroyed by worsening storms and droughts, or lands and animals were lost to wildfires, or as reefs and fisheries were killed off by the warming, acidifying waters of our oceans. But what will come over the years and decades and centuries if we do not turn back from this horrid burning of fossil fuels and the dumping of their carbon into the atmosphere will be far, far worse.

What kind of world is this to make for our fellow human beings? What kind of future to leave for the generations that follow? Surely not the better one that we all work and hope for. Surely not one that honors the can-do, make the world a better place spirit of America.

But despite our worsening prospects and the dark and heavy clouds that now hang over the global climate, we have a window of opportunity in which to act. Our tools to confront climate change in the form of renewable energy systems like wind and solar and electrified transportation are growing more capable. And further innovation and change in our actions as people and nations can yet enable us to draw down the awful pall of heat trapping gasses that now hangs above us. These are things we can and must do if we are a moral people with any kind of vision, foresight and compassion.

This is our moment. The moment when we decide to make the choice to act and to save so many of the very precious things we all hold dear or to turn away from action and condemn each and every person and being now living or that will live to an age of terror and darkness the likes of which Earth has not seen in all of half a billion years.

So I’m asking you for your help. I’m asking you to make the choice to act. To join the People in their march for climate justice tomorrow. To support all the voices that are now speaking out. To lift your own voice to our growing chorus.

For the love of life and of all good things — we simply must act now.

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135 Comments

  1. Keith Antonysen

     /  April 28, 2017

    The good news here is that Westpac was considering helping finance the Adani mine, much activity was generated against them; and now, they say they will not help finance any new coal mine.

    The Neo Liberal Government is very angry with “activists”.

    Reply
  2. This current extinction should be called the Orwellian.

    Reply
    • Like it. Oilian wouldn’t be bad either.

      Reply
    • Robert E Prue

       /  April 29, 2017

      No joke!

      Reply
    • Video from climate march today in DC:

      Estimated 200,000 in attendance there. At least 100,000 also appear to have marched in Chicago. More to follow.

      Reply
      • Suzanne

         /  April 30, 2017

        Was proud to have participated in the PCM West Palm Beach with about 500 other concerned citizens. Thank you Robert for all you do to get the word out that there is NO PLANET B !!

        Reply
        • Thanks so much for your continued activism Suzanne! Whether it was those in DC, or West Palm near Mar-a-Lago, or Chicago, or Oklahoma, or the UK, or in so, so many other places, we all shook the pillars of power yesterday. I don’t know what the final numbers were including all the marches everywhere. But my bet is that we considerably exceeded a million.

  3. oldmoses

     /  April 29, 2017

    Thoughtfully conveyed message, as always. Thank you for this appeal. I am glad Blake is spared these times.

    Reply
  4. climatehawk1

     /  April 29, 2017

    Tweeted.

    Reply
  5. I’ll be video blogging live from my Facebook home page here as the People’s Climate March starts at 1230 PM and at 30 minute intervals afterwards. Please feel free to drop in. Link below:

    https://www.facebook.com/luthielssong

    Reply
  6. DrTskoul

     /  April 29, 2017

    [Trump] EPA started purging climate change pages….

    Reply
  7. Robert E Prue

     /  April 29, 2017

    If our leaders or “ruling class” would stop with the “who’s got the biggest missile” and listen to the science,

    Reply
  8. Robert E Prue

     /  April 29, 2017

    This weather in Kansas is crazy! There’s a winter storm warning west of where I’m at Colorado Kansas border. A bit late in the season

    Reply
    • End of April, more snow near Albuquerque than during all winter.

      Reply
    • And on the other side of the dipole, DC shattered its previous record high for the day on April 29. This is a classic high amplitude Jet Stream wave. The kind we have come to expect more and more as the pole has warmed and energy exchange in the mid-latitude zones increases.

      Reply
  9. Spike

     /  April 29, 2017

    Stefan Rahmstorf shared this poignant article on similar themes regarding the future. “During summer, I found myself asking questions I had never asked before. Is it too hot to hang the washing out? Can the dog and I cope with a walk? How on earth am I going to get some sleep when it is still 39°C inside? Keeping our old weatherboard house a habitable temperature was an exceptional challenge, with my husband and I living in the only room with air-conditioning for days on end.”

    http://insidestory.org.au/suddenly-the-future-doesnt-seem-so-far-away

    Time to call a halt – solidarity from those of us in the UK who will be with you in spirit as you march Robert.

    Reply
    • Thanks for your kind words and your solidarity, Spike. There was this powerful, pervasive spirit throughout the march. I was surrounded by good people. Angry people — and rightly so — for sure. But these people had resolved that something must change. And many of them had come from places all over the U.S. to make their statement. To push hard for the changes we all so desperately need now. We may have marched in places as far flung as thousands of miles away. But we also marched together, my friend.

      Reply
    • Tweet scheduled on this, thanks.

      Reply
  10. Abel Adamski

     /  April 29, 2017

    A different slant.

    Interesting article
    https://theintercept.com/2017/04/28/how-a-professional-climate-change-denier-discovered-the-lies-and-decided-to-fight-for-science/

    How a Professional Climate Change Denier Discovered the Lies and Decided to Fight for Science
    Sharon Lerner

    April 29 2017, 5:04 a.m.

    The hardest part of reversing the warming of the planet may be convincing climate change skeptics of the need to do so. Although scientists who study the issue overwhelming agree that the earth is undergoing rapid and profound climate changes due to the burning of fossil fuels, a minority of the public remains stubbornly resistant to that fact. With temperatures rising and ice caps melting — and that small minority in control of both Congress and the White House — there seems no project more urgent than persuading climate deniers to reconsider their views. So we reached out to Jerry Taylor, whose job as president of the Niskanen Center involves turning climate skeptics into climate activists.

    It might seem like an impossible transition, except that Taylor, who used to be staff director for the energy and environment task force at the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and vice president of the Cato Institute, made it himself.

    A clue. evidence and intelligence

    Reply
    • Thanks for this Abel. More power to him. I think we all will need to try to do this. But it is a very tough thing to liberate a heart from its own darkness. And when it comes to the bad actor — only tough love, shaming, punishment, and the imposition of strong boundaries defining acceptable and unacceptable behavior have any chance of creating change. The people who do wrong need to be faced with abject disassociation, exile and loneliness. They need to know that as long as they do this — they are wrong people.

      Reply
    • Scheduling tweet on this, thanks. And kudos to Joe Romm for starting Jerry Taylor on a different path.

      Reply
  11. John Cartmill

     /  April 29, 2017

    You can watch the stream from the climate march here:
    https://peoplesclimate.org/live/

    Reply
    • Erik Frederiksen

       /  April 30, 2017

      The ominous implication of that stems from the fact that we still have a lot to learn about glaciers.

      Reply
    • Not OT at all. It’s most certainly relevant to the present context. To why people are marching now in the first place. The seas are rising. Their homes and futures are threatened. How much more relevant does it get?

      Reply
  12. Oilwellian extinction

    Reply
  13. FD&R

     /  April 29, 2017

    Dark clouds are getting closer
    All around us, all around me
    They are the birds of prey
    congregating, salivating
    The warning comes from  a siren
    She is moaning, she is groaning
    Spreading her  arms
    Calling my name :
    “Believe in me
    My love for thee ”

    Then she did something strange
    Rewinding  clocks and watches
    With her fingers she was knitting
    Past with present, present with future
    I couldn’t resist those forces
    All that pulling, all that tugging
    I’ve been thrown back,
    Back  in time:
    “Believe in me
    My love for thee ”

    Belgrade ’93
    fancy restaurant, bottle of wine
    We were spilling jokes and  wisdom
    love was real, discussion surreal
    We talked about  limits (  to growth )
    the world stumbling and then crumbling
    What  will happen to all,         (how we gonna stop it)
    All of us
    And you said :
    “Believe in me
    My love for thee ”

    The year was  twenty thirty
    we were  empty, world was dirty
    we spent our lives like the others
    overspending, over-consuming.
    The age of consequences :
    Nature’s vengeance, nature’s penance
    Runaway train
    Is pulling away
    “Believe in me
    My love for thee ”

    Toronto 2110
    Ghost town, ghost world
    You and I, together again
    Raging storms, raging fire
    The world is desolated
    But Our spirits dance and laugh
    All the roads are leading
    back to you.
            ( The wind whispers, carrying our voices ) :
    “Believe in me
    My love for thee ”

    —————————
    The title of my poem is 2II0 or To One I Love, but it seems to me that the worst will happen much sooner. We are all literally running out of time.
    In support to everyone who is taking part in today’s demonstrations: This poem is for you.

    Reply
  14. Here in NM we are experiencing near record lows and several storms will be threatening the Midwest after exiting the Southwest. Near record temps in Washington DC. Check ed out Robert’s feeds and the crowd looks huuuuge! LOL! Maybe, just maybe this will wake the masses to pressure their representatives to do SOMETHING before it’s too late to do anything. Inside Climate News has a report saying sea lever rise in now double the predictions of 2013. Maybe Mar a Lago won’t be so inviting in 40-50- years. I’m glad to see a good turnout because the Earth Day March for Science was washed out do to rains. The Ol’ Hippy

    Reply
  15. Paul

     /  April 29, 2017

    Here’s an article that has a good explanation of why it matters if Trump backs away from the Paris climate agreement. Even if the US stays in the agreement in name only, but disregards the Obama commitments, other nations may use the the lack of US leadership as an excuse to back down from their commitments as well:

    The danger isn’t so much that U.S. emissions would drastically accelerate global warming, but that Trump’s actions would turn into a contagion, ratcheting down worldwide ambition to tackle climate change.

    This outcome would have severe consequences.

    “If all other countries were to follow the United States in lowering the level of ambition and rolling back action on climate change, the world would warm by around four degrees over this century, a warming rate and level not seen on the planet for 55 million years,” said Bill Hare, CEO of Climate Analytics, in a statement.

    In other words, there is a lot more riding on Trump’s ultimate decision than you might think.

    http://mashable.com/2017/04/28/trump-paris-climate-agreement-fate/#0NbduNAVn5qX

    Reply
    • Erik Frederiksen

       /  April 30, 2017

      And uncertainty should inspire caution. From the AAAS: “there is a real risk, however small, that one or more critical parts of the Earth’s climate system will experience abrupt, unpredictable and potentially irreversible changes. Disturbingly, scientists do not know how much warming is required to trigger such changes to the climate system.”

      Reply
      • Which is basically the equivalent of scientists throwing up their hands and saying — look, if we don’t stop burning fossil fuels, we’re basically screwed.

        Reply
  16. Here’s an article on Australia’s ABC News.

    The public appetite for community funded renewable energy appears to be limitless, with projects proving so popular they are selling out within minutes of being offered to investors.

    The latest initiative — a massive solar panel system on top of a wholesale bakery in western Sydney — saw people flocking to invest.

    Within six hours, 20 investors had pitched in almost $400,000 to install a huge 230 kilowatt solar system on the bakery’s roof.

    The project has been set up by volunteer-run ClearSky Solar Investments.

    The company Bakers Maison will pay investors for the solar energy it uses over a period of between seven to 10 years. The investors get a 7 per cent return on the money they put in.

    After that time, the business owns the panels and will use its energy for free.

    Full article here
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-30/community-energy-projects-selling-out-within-minutes/8476794

    Reply
  17. coloradobob

     /  April 30, 2017

    Trump protesters march in Harrisburg, Pa., on Saturday. The city is hosting President Trump’s event mark his first 100 days in office. (Steve Volk for The Washington Post)
    Pennsylvania Democrats and liberal protest groups held an opposition rally and march in Harrisburg, Pa., Saturday night to protest President Trump, who is hosting an event to mark his first 100 days in office in the very same city he referred to as “a war zone” during the campaign.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2017/04/29/protesters-to-hold-opposition-march-as-president-trump-hosts-100-day-rally/?utm_term=.4d118b60f0b8

    Reply
    • coloradobob

       /  April 30, 2017

      If there is one thing great again in America , it’s writing protest posters.

      Reply
    • Saw some amazing stuff at the climate march today. Got great pics and video. Will share as soon as I’m able to.

      Reply
  18. coloradobob

     /  April 30, 2017

    Denise Wilmarth, 65, stood in a field across from the Trump rally site, holding a sign that read “100 Days Of Lies, Hypocrisy, Rambling Ignorance.”

    “I am afraid for the children,” said the Harrisburg resident, a retired district manager for the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission. “No one wants to say it, but bullying has gone up, harassment has gone up. I get responses on my Facebook page — people aren’t afraid to say the worst things they think anymore. And it’s scary.”

    A volunteer with Suits to Careers, an agency that gives free clothes to poor people for job interviews, then outfits them when they’re hired, she’s seen the level of discourse and political thought sink for years. “My ex-husband, I left him two years ago. He voted for Sarah Palin because he thought she was hot.”

    Reply
  19. coloradobob

     /  April 30, 2017

    The new 7 forecast –
    Get your floatation devices , and secure your seat back trays in their upright and locked positions,

    Reply
    • 95F in DC today at the climate march. If official, that shatters the past record of 91 by fully 4 degrees. A bit of dark irony there for ya. All that heat in the east meets that massive trough digging into the central US to produce some serious potential for severe storms. It’s like July is fighting with early March. And all due to the ridiculous meridional flux we see right now. Now that’s a mangled jet stream if I ever saw one. Polar amplification’s long arm reaching down to rattle things up a bit again.

      Reply
      • coloradobob

         /  April 30, 2017

        Oh yes , Hell is East bound and it’s a slow deep loop from the Maya. A South / North flow .

        Everything the hypothesise has forecast , The Goes images are unbelievable.

        It’s
        32.6 °F at Amarillo

        It’s 52,6 F at at Fairbanks.

        This deep loop is textbook.

        Reply
      • Here is an Earth Nullschool shot of the jets, with the dip in the polar. The subtropical jets are fencing across the equator again. Eventually two deep dips of the subtropical jets at are going to meet each other at the equator.

        https://earth.nullschool.net/#current/wind/isobaric/250hPa/orthographic=243.06,20.85,369/loc=-132.842,0.106

        Reply
      • Ryan in New England

         /  May 1, 2017

        Benn setting records up here in CT too. Wild swings in temperature with the warm days above where we should be in July, handily beating previous high temp records.

        Reply
        • I think the official high for DC was 91 at Reagan National — which tied the all-time record. I was looking at my weather app which showed 95 in town. Lots of records broken all around the area on Saturday, though.

  20. coloradobob

     /  April 30, 2017

    “Hell comes to breakfast”

    What does that mean ?

    The following morning when the Sun comes up. And you are barefoot in the rubble. And your love ones are alive. But you can’t find your cat.

    Reply
  21. coloradobob

     /  April 30, 2017

    Six Days on the Road Dave Dudley

    Reply
  22. coloradobob

     /  April 30, 2017

    To be whirled from the vortex. To be lost from one’s own blindness . To stick one’s finger in the eye of anyone who ever loved you . To stand on the cusp of an empty cup.

    To stand outside the world.

    Reply
  23. coloradobob

     /  April 30, 2017

    Well we can make clever signs , Can we make clever change ?

    Reply
    • Bob —

      We need you to try to keep your chin up, buddy. I absolutely sympathize and my heart goes out to you. But the kids are counting on their wise elders.

      Reply
  24. coloradobob

     /  April 30, 2017

    I did not march these last 2 weeks . I am saving everything for not riding in the electric carts at the supermarket.

    Reply
    • coloradobob

       /  April 30, 2017

      You have no idea how my legs scream , just to buy cheese.

      Reply
  25. Suzanne

     /  April 30, 2017

    Our People’s Climate March in West Palm Beach was a great success…About 500 of us marched to the gates of Mar-a-Lago to raise our voice against the Climate Change Denial of this Regime. I was very proud to have been an organizer and participant of this event.
    Sierra Club Florida was involved in our event..and I was told that our “Greeting from Mar-a-Lago” banner was picked up by the national Sierra Club.

    https://scontent-iad3-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/18198502_1386535504756027_5796475844640965100_n.jpg?oh=274c6e36cf06bcf795f6591cb65784a5&oe=59765FDC

    Reply
  26. coloradobob

     /  April 30, 2017

    Reply
  27. coloradobob

     /  April 30, 2017

    Reply
  28. coloradobob

     /  April 30, 2017

    Just give one thing I can hold on to , to believe in this liviin’ is a hard way to go

    Reply
  29. coloradobob

     /  April 30, 2017

    Reply
  30. coloradobob

     /  April 30, 2017

    Rock out , till the end.

    Reply
  31. Suzanne

     /  April 30, 2017

    A great article with a video with Nicholas Kristof at the NY Times…who did a video when he went to Madagascar to show what the effects of CC is doing to the people there…A must watch video…that will break your heart.

    Reply
    • coloradobob

       /  April 30, 2017

      “A must watch video…that will break your heart.”

      Well how many parts can my my heart crack into ? Turns out like grains of salt on a shag carpet.

      Reply
      • I’ve got to say that after all these years of struggle, the marches are actually quite liberating. It provides a sense of cooperation and community that is tough to find. You can physically join hands with a total stranger and share in the common bond of action for the most worthy of all causes. ‘Get up, stand up’ is about as empowering as anything you can imagine.

        Reply
    • Thanks to Kristof for producing such a poignant expose. And thanks, Suzanne, for posting it here.

      Reply
  32. coloradobob

     /  April 30, 2017

    Old Hope –

    Reply
  33. coloradobob

     /  April 30, 2017

    Oh the snot has caked against my pants , it has turned into crystal , there’s a blue bird sitting on a branch ……………….

    Reply
  34. coloradobob

     /  April 30, 2017

    Reply
  35. coloradobob

     /  April 30, 2017

    One more to cheer one’s heart –

    Reply
  36. I,of course think this was the best Peoples Climate March..from Tulsa,Oklahoma,,http://www.tulsaworld.com/homepagelatest/rain-logged-protesters-rally-in-tulsa-for-environmental-protections-policies/article_a5f11ee8-96f3-559c-a12e-af8239e1c6e1.html The Governor declared all 77 counties disaster areas cause of the xtreme rain/flooding

    Reply
  37. Suzanne

     /  April 30, 2017

    The Climate Rally just put Trump’s Inauguration to Shame:
    http://occupydemocrats.com/2017/04/29/climate-rally-just-put-trumps-inauguration-shame/

    In Washington, D.C., organizers secured a permit for 100,000 people from the National Park Service. By 1pm today, that mark was far exceeded; organizers have declared that over 200,000 people joined in on the march calling for action on climate change.

    Reply
  38. Whachamacallit

     /  April 30, 2017

    Even the conservative (well, European-level conservative) magazine The Economist made an indepth article about the terrible state of the Arctic. I was even impressed that they didn’t really promote geoengineering; while they pointed it out, they pretty much said that it’s fraught with uncertainty and not likely to help in the long run.

    I guess that a potential negative they stated was that an ice-free Arctic is inevitable at this point, but I feel like that may be true, right?

    Here’s a link: http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21721379-current-trends-arctic-will-be-ice-free-summer-2040-arctic-it-known-today

    Reply
    • I don’t see how we avoid it. Even if carbon emissions fell to zero now, we’d have enough risidual warming over the next two decades to produce an ice-free ocean state there. We’re at risk of seeing such an event soon (next 1-5 years). Although it’s tough to quantify that risk since sea ice trends have been so difficult to predict. If I were to add an opinion, there’s some risk this year and growing for every year following for an ice free Arctic ocean state. This year, in particular, perhaps, given the post El Nino state we’re in right now.

      Reply
  39. Reply
    • Thanks for the pics. Great stuff!

      Reply
      • Thanks, Robert, my pleasure. It was a great day. One daughter felled by heat prostration, so that was exciting, but she’s fine now that we’re back to 50-degree-high weather. 🙂

        Reply
        • We had a bit of a heat exhaustion scare due to lack of water. Had to hike 5 blocks to get my wife a bottle — she was getting light-headed with stomach cramps. Glad to hear your daughter is doing well. Have really enjoyed all the wonderful pictures from the marches and seeing so many people here pitch in. Huge success for everyone. I think this is the first time the blog has been used effectively as a platform for this kind of event. Would like to beef that capability up more in the future.

  40. Reply
  41. Reply
  42. Greg

     /  April 30, 2017

    Loved your live feed, Robert. Could feel your human renewable energy rise from the march. Keep it up.
    Bob, I am so sorry you are feeling so crappy. Wish I were there to buy you some groceries and make a hearty meal for you. You should be so taken care of.

    Onward. Indiana got as much as 8 inches from this dipole:
    http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_590590e1e4b05c397680244cncid=inblnkushpmg00000009

    Reply
  43. Paul

     /  May 1, 2017

    Here’s an article that illustrates the massive scale of humanity’s CO2 emissions:

    Let’s also, for a moment, do another thought experiment. You’re a long-lived, budding astrobiologist on the planet Proxima Centauri b. You’ve just spent several hundred Proxima b years using that world’s largest space telescope to take a spectrum of the light from an intriguing planet about 4 light years away. Some unknown process on this planet seems to be persistently adding carbon dioxide to its atmosphere. Seasons come and go, but the composition of the planet is changing during your own lifetime.

    Your conclusion? If there’s life on that world, something potentially catastrophic is happening to it.

    https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/life-unbounded/the-crazy-scale-of-human-carbon-emission/

    Reply
  44. Jimbot

     /  May 1, 2017

    Dear RS,

    Thanks again for all the fantastic work you do here.

    I enjoy and appreciate all the posts even though my opinion may vary in some respects. Don’t blame you if you prefer not to allow some of my comments through.

    Exploration of space, including Mars, not possible with FF technology. This fact should be made obvious to all.

    In his latest effort, Dr. Steven Greer says that the number one reason advanced energy technology has been suppressed, ( off-world or otherwise ) is to maintain business for FF corporations, Rockefellers etc.

    So, if what he says is true, and there is a lot of evidence, this is a possible last hope, Hail Mary type of planet-saving and very much pro science initiative.

    [link removed — off topic, gross speculation, unproven conspiracy theory etc]

    Reply
    • I’ve tightened up the moderation considerably. This is more to adhere to the rules I laid out for the forum years ago — to keep it positive and forward looking even as serious and valid threats were identified. To keep the forum on topic. And not to entertain a variety of conspiracy theories that tend to circulate widely around the net.

      Reply

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