Did the Peoples Climate March matter?

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At the time did the various protests for racial equality, women’s suffrage, labor rights, anti-war, bring about change?

Yes — and not completely, immediately or globally.

Although all of these causes, while intolerably endured, even to this day – the marchers recognized a common cause, to take immediate action for a habitable earth.

To say, you had to be there, is more than a saying when the stakes are the demise of the only climate that nurtured Homo sapiens and we have ever known. You can’t just be a bystander.

But what immediate action?

How could it be that we demand political action, corporate leadership, human rights, a scientific certainty and a total remaking of the world’s energy infrastructure – immediately – but not change our own consumptive habits? (Not to discount that all this needs to happen).

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The miles-long march was divided into segments: People most effected, Building the future, Solutions, Who’s responsible, The debate’s over, To change everything we need everyone.

At the climate march I walked behind the large banner of “We Have The Solutions” with my 24-6 Boycott sign. Near me was the only group that suggested individuals do anything to use less energy – Vegetarians. One vocal woman handing out Go Vegan flyers, rightly, but a bit forcefully, proclaimed there is no better way for an individual to reduce atmospheric carbon than to not eat meat. (You had to love their enthusiasm). I goaded her a bit asking if it was ok to just do meatless Mondays. At first she resisted “No, no, no. You have to only eat plants!” But her friends consoled me with “That would be a good start.” and she encouraged that.

That is how 24-6 works. One day a week off the grid. Something we can do immediately to change energy consumption – right now.

It becomes a little through the looking glass epiphany to experience a different possibility. We can all do things – actual fun, joyful, simple, liberating things – this week – just for yourself without waiting for anyone to tell you what to do or wait for anyone else to make it happen.

Heading the opposite way when everyone was heading home I saw only one — one lanky young guy holding his solitary message scrawled on a torn piece of cardboard; “Consume Less”.

I think it was directed to us climate marchers.

Yes we are long past small, individual actions but the banner to wrap up the march stated; “To change everything it takes everyone. My carbon footprint for walking all day in this uber-passionate, carnival of a climate protest, was pretty much zero.

The enormity of the crisis is dispiriting but the possibilities seen in New York City that day were inspiring.

Steve Mitsch

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Sunday Paper

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Sunday Paper

If only a kid on his bike delivered our Sunday paper, it would be a perfect example of how easy it is time spent off the grid. Instead, the delivery woman arrives in her aging Honda probably earning little more relative to what I earned as a boy.

The New York Times is a treasure of a newspaper contrary to the fulmination of those who prefer hardened ideologies. Of course there seems to be a bias that favors their readers but, regular contributors and stories give a wide range of perspectives – even to a fault – to present positions contrary to the weight of consensus science or in politics – the rush to war.

The declared mission of the newspaper, “All the News That’s Fit to Print” is both true and a kind of pun. It can take the whole day to read and it’s a huge and varied tome.

The pages of The Times display everything imaginable, from exclusive advertisers of palatial home sales to stories of refugees, or advertisements for hundred thousand dollar watches to news of the minimum hourly wage. I’d be surprised if I’m the only person not feeling whiplashed and suffering a kind of extreme mood disorder.

How does it all make sense when taken all together?

It takes time to absorb information and let it play on the subconscious compared to the distractions we confront daily. Perhaps see our own life in a larger context. In his book, Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman relates that, compared to various academic experts, attentive readers a publication like The New York Times, are reasonably good at reading emerging situations.

It does help to go deeply to inform my choices and for that I am grateful to the journalists, editors and advertisers that support this, unusually rare independent institution. A functioning democracy depends on it and us to be well informed.

As New Media has upended virtually every enterprise, it is reassuring that in this Digital Age this newspaper ranks in about the top 5 news websites.

Spending a Sunday engaged in one place along with 2.3 million other NY Times readers is a delightful way to recharge.

Sunday readers instead of Sunday drivers. That could save a good deal of carbon emissions.

Now if kids on bikes could feel the heft wouldn’t that be a sight?