Reflecting upon DC Climate Event
It has been a week since I arrived back in New Mexico after the Keystone XL Climate Rally in Washington, DC. Sometimes it takes a while to process such blessed and awe-inspiring events. Initiated by organizations such as 350.org and Sierra Club and endorsed by some 130 organizations, including Interfaith Power and Light, the “Forward On” Climate Rally drew more than 40,000 on a cold and windy Sunday, February 17, 2013.
I traveled to the rally as a prayerful pilgrimage flying from Albuquerque to Chicago to take one of two chartered buses with my sister and friend Mar Kay Flanigan, who works at 8th Day Center for Justice. The rally, which included speakers from business, 350, Sierra Club, a US Senator and powerful First Nation Women from Canada and Oklahoma, was inspiring. The march with multitude of signs and chants to the White House seemed like an endless stream of committed souls.
But, what touched me deeply were the smiles on people’s faces, the sense of centeredness and peace of those gathered in the face of the greatest ethical moral and economic challenge of our time, Climate Change. These pictures of people and their messages reflect some of this palpable energy that permeates the work that continues as everyone has returned home.
Kathryn Turnipseed, a Buddhist member of NMIPL also attended the rally affirms the sentiments.“ I felt this journey as pilgrimage and an expression of my deepening care for all living beings in response to the greatest threat: the destruction of our life support system. I was so uplifted and inspired. While a majority of politicians in Washington demonstrate an unwillingness to address the realities of climate change, people across the country are organizing and mobilizing, some risking arrest, to protect what we love and depend upon for life. It’s a heartbreaking and heartwarming journey of compassion. I don’t know what this journey will look like or how it will end but being in Washington, joined together with people from all walks of life, demonstrating wit, care, creativity, courage and boundless goodwill I felt so blessed to be on this journey and grateful for everyone who is taking a stand for the well-being of all creatures.”
Upon returning from the rally, several people and one reporter asked me “So, what next?” I could only reply that those gathered know the seriousness of climate change and are motivated by deep love and compassion to continue their work in whatever spheres they find themselves. My sense is that most of those gathered were already very committed and engaged. It was important to gather from dispersed areas into one body to say “We are the many and our voices are growing and we want to stop Keystone Pipeline and similar ill-fated projects and move forward with strong climate change and energy policies. We act in Love and care for life and the future.”
Perhaps the blue sign held by college student, Amanda, speaks most powerfully to the spirit of the Largest Climate Rally in the United States history on the windy cold Sunday of February 17, 2013.
There are so many small and large ways to get engaged, to activate Love into action, let me know if you want to help.
Joan Brown,osf, Executive Director, New Mexico Interfaith Power and Light