On the 21st of September I marched with over 400,000 people to demand action on climate change as part of the People’s Climate March. I had a hard time deciding who to march with. Devin organized university alumni; our church moved Sunday service so that everyone could march together in bright yellow Unitarian Universalist shirts; my union turned out en masse; and of course there were lots of feminist groups. In the end, I ended up marching with the part of my identity that felt most important that day: I marched as an immigrant. I thought of the way my family got stranded driving home after my wedding because of torrential rain, the pictures of drowned cars in the Chihuahua airport parking lot, and the small but highly unusual earthquake of last year. I am not a climate refugee, but I know if we continue on our current path, people will have to flee Chihuaha––it will simply be too hot to survive––and I know New York City will get smaller and smaller as sea levels rise. It is heart-breaking and overwhelming to think about.
But I felt the exact opposite of heartbreak at the People’s Climate March. What I will always remember is holding a moment of silence followed by a wave of cheers to “sound the alarm on climate change.” I got goosebumps as I heard cheers carry over forty city blocks until the wave reached my section on 82nd Street and Central Park West. Then, we erupted in cheers, yells, whistles, laughs, and I thought, “This is the sound of hope, and it is LOUD.”
I do believe that we can change the world, and I know the first step is just knowing that.