Get Ready for Another Big March in DC — This Time for the Planet
Women, Communities of Color, Scientists and Students: calling on all coalitions for climate action.
One thing President Donald Trump has made clear in his campaign and first few days is office is that he’s not a believer in climate change.
One of his administration’s top priorities is the creation of jobs through the expansion of domestic energy industries: petroleum, coal and shale oil/gas.
Trump appointed E. Scott Pruitt to lead the EPA even though he’s sued it several times.
Then came the media blackout on the EPA and reports that Trump’s administration would no longer trust data from scientists. The content of EPA.gov is “under review” and the agency is undergoing a media blackout.
And one of Trump’s first executive orders gave a green light to Dakota Access Pipeline and Keystone Pipeline, despite the potentially devastating impact these projects will have on the environment.
After the success of the Women’s March, support surged on Facebook, Reddit and Twitter for another cause: the March for Science. While the March for Science is gaining notoriety, (and still picking a date to march) another group, known as the People’s Climate Movement is quietly advancing awareness around climate change through organized means.
The People’s Climate Movement also plans to march on Washington, and across the country. They, however, have a date set: April 29. In addition, they are proposing 100 days of action and resistance until the march in April.
The People’s Climate Movement came to be in 2014, after a group of activists and individuals from all walks of life organized a march in New York City, on the eve of the UN Climate Summit, where the Paris Climate Agreement was being orchestrated.
As an organization, the People’s Climate Movement insists on building a new economy, with the support of public leaders, that will avert the worst impacts of the climate crisis while promoting jobs and social justice.
“What was really powerful was the day of the march, over 400,000 people participated,” Paul Getsos, National Coordinator of The People’s Climate Movement, told Global Citizen. “But the untold story lies with the relationships and the trust that was built between the different organizations.”
The Environmental Justice Movement, labor unions and student youth groups — organizations that didn’t usually work together, did.
Robert Orr, dean of the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy and special adviser to Ban Ki-moon on climate change, noted on the 2014 United Nations’ Climate Summit news that the private sector would commit over $200 billion of financial assets to move to greener investment outcomes within 2015.
In 2015, the People’s Climate Movement’s National Day of Action took the idea of a march on step forward — people took local action to stop climate change.That October, they continued to deepen the narrative by organizing 200 actions in 48 locations in the country — mostly led by unions, faith groups, youth and people of color organizations.
“We were making progress toward clean energy,” Gestos told Global Citizen. “We would have been in Washington whether it was Clinton or Trump. We need to do more than just protect.”
Toward the end of the 2016 election, the People’s Climate Movement’s work shifted as they began to focus on developing a platform that better articulated their understanding of the climate crisis and created a movement strong enough to meet the challenges.
This coalition will leverage their power once again, to resist the Trump administration's efforts to deny climate change and the corporate leaders’ efforts to thwart or reverse progress towards a more just America. According to Getsos, these next 100 days will focus on "resist, build and rise."
And they’re not alone in the fight.
“We have over 30 partnering organizations and are looking to grow everyday,” Getsos said. “We have the right partners, we have a broad based coalition. We have front lines communities engaged, communities of colors engaged, the right people around the table to work on the intersectionality of gender, race and climate.”
Denise Abdul-Rahman, NAACP Indiana Executive Board Member and State Chair, stated that the “grassroots based organization has injected civil disobedience to oppose the current attorney general appointee. We are with the people,” she said in support of the NAACP’s partnership with the march, “and the People’s Climate Movement.”
From now until April 29, activists will be making weekly calls, strategizing on a grassroots level and gathering their efforts with and around their communities — where the fight is.
“We want people around the country to participate,” Getsos noted. “People need to focus less on big mobilizations and moreso on consistent work. It is important to communicate with global leaders and global organizations that their is a powerful movement that calls on climate action.”