From Massachusetts to New Zealand, climate change activists urged effective and timely action at the United Nations Conference on Climate Change — COP21. The social media hashtag telling world leaders to “ActinParis” became a thread that pulled together the many political, environmental, and human impacts of climate change.
While recent terror attacks caused officials to ban public demonstrations in the City of Light, the rest of the world was more than ready to march in their stead. These photos posted by Moms Clean Air Force partner 350.org capture the breadth of that commitment.
These actions weren’t limited to big cities. Concerned citizens in small towns registered their support too. On a crystalline Sunday morning, I marched with about 30 others from the center of Concord, Massachusetts to the site of Henry David Thoreau’s cabin on Walden Pond. Carrying signs and banging drums, the Paris Climate Summit and those attending were on our minds.
At the cabin site we recalled that Thoreau was not just a nature lover, but also an activist — a fierce abolitionist, willing to go to jail for his beliefs. He did so when he refused to pay a poll tax to a government that supported slavery. His “Essay on Civil Disobedience,” written after that experience, inspired the likes of Ghandi and Martin Luther King, Jr.
I later joined about 150 other activists in Concord’s Monument Square, where speaker, Wen Stephenson reminded us that Rosa Parks was but one woman on one bus, yet her actions sparked a movement. In conclusion, he said,
“Faith and hope and love are every bit as real as the science…as the CO2 in the air and the carbon in the ground. They are as real as the melting arctic and the acidifying oceans. Faith and hope and love are the very stuff that movements are made of. Real movements, the kind of radical, transformative movements that have changed the course of history in the past and just maybe might change it again if enough of us are willing to fight.”