November 8, 2014

How I Learned about Community by Joining a Climate Change March.

climate change march

A group who call themselves “Great March for Climate Action” walked from California to Washington, D.C.

They spent eight months of their life and surrendered themselves for the good of our Earth.

If you who wonder what good walking across the country will do for Climate Action, let me tell you.

I met this group in Cleveland, Ohio and joined them the very next day.

Their passion and love for the work they are doing inspired me to help. This was something I could truly get behind, with my whole body.

Not my hand signing a piece of paper, not my eyes reading another article or scientific report on the deadly effects of climate change.

This was real action and so, I marched.

My first night was in Macedonia, Ohio. We were staying at a local church there which unusual for The Great March who typically would camp.

I walked in on dinner and a meeting. I saw people young and old, giving input on the logistics of the walk, stating their organizational ideas and helping serve dinner/ clean up. I thought,

“Wow, this is a true community”.

Each person in the March was assigned a job or task (such as chef, dinner prep, breakfast clean up).

Shortly after dinner, one of the marchers held a meditation ceremony where everyone and anyone could share thoughts and feelings afterwards. One woman did not speak for the next few days, Sean Glenn.

She was taking a vow of silence that was being passed around the marchers. She began this practice in California and stayed silent the first 100 days of the march.

After meditation, I fell asleep in a church hallway. The next morning, I awoke with a pep in my step and ready to march. Breakfast was at 6:30 am and we were to leave by 8:00 am.

This particular day we walked 14 miles. Some days on The Great March for Climate Action we walked as far as 25 miles.

I walked with the group for two weeks.

During those two weeks I not only made friends, but family. I met people without water, families who are suffering from illnesses and others who are mourning the life of a loved one, Terry Greenwood(Google him).

This is without a doubt due to fracking. Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”, is the process of drilling and injecting fluid into the ground at a high pressure in order to fracture shale rocks to release natural gas inside.

It is obvious that this drilling needs to be regulated and put to a stop. You may wonder who could do that. Well, there is already a commission put in charge of this and they are the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). To many people, FERC is simply rubberstamping every project that comes through their building. FERC doesn’t work and therefore destroys families and towns.

The Great March for Climate Action arrived in Washington D.C on November 1st.

I met them again in Maryland and walked with them. We brought the stories of all the families and people suffering due to fracking.

A group including some of the marchers and myself titled, “Beyond Extreme Energy” (BXE) have been protesting at FERC. We have blocked the main entrances and performed actions there all week beginning on November 3rd.

I was arrested on the first day along with 24 other Climate Heroes.

I write this to spread the message and to share my experience on the Great March for Climate Action.

Take this and use it to fuel your fire.

There is no time like now to stand for what is right in the midst of so much wrong.

We need you on our side.

The Earth needs you.

As I laid there on the ground blocking the garage entrance to FERC, I look up towards the sky. I felt myself there, on the Earth in space and time, knowing that what I was doing needed to be done. The spirit of the people united cannot be defeated.



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Author: Annamarie Chantel Pihs 

Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock

Photo: courtesy of the author used with permission by John Zangos


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