For months there had been a steady
drumbeat of invitations to participate in Bill McKibbin's latest
march on the climate change issue. The story was that the United
Nations was going to have a global climate summit the following
week, and we could set the tone for the event with a huge presence
in the streets. For a while I was seeing invitations to go to New
York. I just couldn't see myself having that huge a carbon
footprint experience to fight climate change. I was happy when I
heard about the local sympathy rally by Oakland's Lake Merritt.
I started going up there early. The
previous day must have been news event free, because the front
page news was that Gwen Minor had spent 12 hours in a tree to save
it from the axe.
The first other person I met with a
sign was this woman. She didn't know the way to the rally start
and neither did I. Usually for me that's not a problem, but this
time I was so early there was no crowd to follow. We figured it
out though, getting there before the big crowds, but long after
the setup crew had gone to work.
It was a perfect time to talk to the
various people tabling for causes they care about.
The guy from COTAP was a new face
for me. His idea is to raise money here and use it to pay people
in impoverished places to do things to protect the ecosystem.
Sounded like a startup in early days.
I knew Ruben and Shoup as Alameda
County Green Party activists. It seems like they aren't flying
that banner any more, despite still being in the struggle for a
better future. Ruben had returned to his labor roots. He's also
still fighting against the top two primary in the courts. Shoup
was calling himself "an ecosocialist". So their hearts are still
with the ecosystem, but it's not looking like the crumbs the
system gives the name of a political party are enough to make
either of them table with a Green Party banner.
I told the guy with the red sign
that I liked it. He showed me the Brazilian patch on his coat that
had inspired it.
The stage was occupied by a variety
of interesting and thoughtful community groups. I think this one
was a radical labor chorus. The songs they sang used traditional
sing along tunes with lyrics about how we need to cut fossil fuel
consumption and honor human rights and women.
By this time big clumps of people
were showing up.
I didn't notice the ever (as in
forever) in everything until I looked at the colors on that sign.
Nor the "STEAL MY HEART" on the shirt under the "lets take care of
our planet!" I was too busy breezing through the crowd getting as
many of the creative and thoughtful images as possible. There was
so much fascinating work around...
Laura Wells wearing no green? It
startled me that most of the green in the picture was ink on her
At this point I joined a march
around Lake Merit. It wasn't much, maybe a dozen people talking
about the issues involved with our fossil fuel addiction and
whatever else helped the miles melt away.
By the time we got back to the start
the event was clearly over. Cleanup was in process. It was time to
A couple of days later this image
floated across my facebook wall. We didn't have that kind of
numbers, but I don't remember many marches that size that had that
many interesting and thoughtful signs. I hope you enjoyed reading
down the page as much as I enjoyed putting it together! Thanks for