Here I am with three of my five grandchildren, the reason we (my husband and I) will be joining the 2013 Walk for Our Grandchildren this July and rallying with 350.org’s Summer Heat campaign in front of The White House, July 27. We mean to hold President Obama to his inaugural promise on the environment.
I’ll leave the arguments over whether global warming (or climate change, if you prefer) is caused by humans to those who believe there is value in assigning blame. I believe it was settled by James Hansen decades ago. We are taking responsibility for what happens next because it will affect the young people in this photograph and our other two grandchildren, and millions of children who did nothing to deserve the mess we are leaving them, and will have to deal with the consequences of our profligacy.
I don’t know if this walk on Washington will have the impact on the power base that other walks did, for civil rights, women’s rights, the end of the Vietnam War. And it certainly won’t mean that I will stop shrinking my carbon footprint by all means possible: food choices, energy, transportation, consumption in general. If Colin Beavan could go ‘no impact’ in Manhattan, the least I can do is go ‘low impact’ in Florida.
Walking the walk also doesn’t mean that I am giving up on the Transition movement (not when founder, Rob Hopkins, took his first flight since 2006 to make his case to American funders), although I am learning how challenging it can be to find common ground beyond personal agendas, my own included! We all need to do more, much more, than recycle, reduce, reuse, and sooner rather than later, without any certainty that they will change the future. As Elizabeth Kolbert writes in The New Yorker, May 27, inaction is a “march to disaster.”