The nations of the world could not have been better represented nor more united than they were in the climate change rally on the weekend. From my vantage point in Columbus Circle I was surrounded by an incredible energy of activity and commitment. There were movie stars and politicians, brass bands and jugglers, grandmothers, flower children, social organizations, and many individuals taking the opportunity to comment while the world was watching. It was politics but it was also fun and the spirit of the day in the midst of 400,000 people was extraordinarily that of community. In the earth’s name there were t-shirts that said ‘it’s not warming, it’s dying’, groups of teachers and students urged education with banners that simply said ‘teach science’. Hilary was supported and opposed, Cuomo was urged to stop the fracking, De Blasio to stop the grocer giant Direct Fresh from building on Indian land. ‘There is no Earth B’ featured next to ‘meatless Mondays’, ‘Miami is drowning’ and ‘ISIS may not kill you, but Monsanto certainly will’.
But it was not simply a few banners and clever slogans. There were bicycle powered monoliths, feathered indigenous people, birds flying from a giant nest – one man built a huge collection of windmills ( with regulation cardboard poles so they would meet march requirements ) that he gave away for a donation to the cause. Another man, with a picture of Martin Luther King on his back, played his guitar and sang songs from the sixties, people meditated in a mass overlooking from Central Park, color coded groups sang, danced or just looked for directions, and there were many people walking on their own, making their own statement. There was thought, inspiration and passion. But it was the camaraderie of the crowd that made it so special.
News crews from France, Japan and England were seeking comments and interviews. It was an event for all nations, and there was no mistaking where certain people came from. That black, red and yellow flag representing custodians of 60,000 years could only belong to one proud race. And to my delight there was a more. I saw the sign, called out ‘Aussie, Aussie, Aussie’, there was a beaming smile and snap, the agenda is on record!