We Came, We Marched, We Conquered

On Saturday, more than 200,000 people took to the streets of Washington DC, surrounded the White House and made it clear to the Trump administration that his climate denial and attacks on science will not stand. More than 300 sister marches took place across the world, with thousands marching in solidarity.

The DC climate march was made up of many different blocks: frontline and indigenous communities, labor unions, scientists and educators, youth, faith groups, and renewable energy and environmental activists. Despite the record-heat in DC, the irony of which was not lost on the crowd, people came from all over the country to join the march and each had their own unique motivation.

Michael had a clear reason for marching: his 11-month old son, Theodore, who was strapped to his back.

“We just need to rise up, take control, and really take action,” he told us.

Many others also shared with us that they were marching not for themselves, but for future generations. Linda from Colorado Springs told us, “There’s something about having grandchildren makes you stop being shy about standing up for what’s right.”

Elena from Vermont shared that the impacts of climate change make her concerned about starting a family. Since we are already feeling the impacts of climate change here and now, what will the future hold for those to come?

One marcher was thinking about the future from a different angle. As a Pacific Islander, Noa has experienced first-hand how climate change can impact not only lands but also cultures.

Another common theme for marchers was the desire to move away from fossil fuels and towards renewables. Emily told us about growing up in West Virginia, and how she hopes for an economy powered by clean energy that could give her state “a better and brighter future.”

We saw the same sentiment echoed throughout the day: another sign read “Kentuckians know, coal must go.” Yet another said “It’s getting hot in here, so shut down all your coal.”

The other overarching message, one highlighted uncomfortably by the 90+°F April day, was a concern over public health and the adverse effects climate change will have. Rose Schneider of the American Public Health Association told us that climate change is “the public health issue of the century.”

The New York State Nurses Association brought a marching band and signs like “People Over Pipelines” and “Water is Life.”

Though every marcher clearly had their own motivation, the group had a unified message that echoed (often literally) across the masses:

“What do we do if we’re under attack? Stand up, fight back.”


Bridgette Burkholder writes for I Heart Climate Scientists. Follow her @bridgette_ck.