My first reaction to learning about the March for Climate Change is that it should have happened on Earth Day or that they should have combined it with the Science March. After all, without science and its data, 45 could claim that climate change is a hoax manufactured by the Chinese… wait….
I digress. My point is, having back-to-back marches could easily backfire by causing people to pick one march or the other, thus lowering participation at both marches. The idea of a march is to bring light to an issue through the voice of the people, its success depending on attendance and participation. And so, I was fully prepared to arrive at the climate march, especially in a smaller city like Charleston, and be one of few to participate. I was wrong.
In addition to being a sister march to the People’s March for Climate Change in Washington, D.C., the march was the kick-off event to Enough Pie‘s Awakening project. The “King Tide” theme is the fifth installment of the charitable organization’s largest annual project and its focus is to shine a light on Charleston’s waterways: the evolving Charleston peninsula waterfront, sea level rise, US coastal policy. The theme, timed with the King Tide we experienced here yesterday morning is no doubt the reason why the march was held on the 29th instead of the 22nd. That, and it was 45’s 100th day.
The march started at the Royal American, a restaurant with an outdoor area transformed into art gallery/art studio where participants could at once create signs and appreciate the public art sculpture on display. In fact, the project has 7 public art exhibits around the city for the next month.
A friend, who I often march with, owns Empowered We Stand, so I came armed already with a melting earth t-shirt and my own sign. Instead of getting creative with the crowd, she and I enjoyed the band and various speakers.
The march took us from the Royal American down Morrison Drive, a stretch of road not far from the Cooper River, to the St. Julian Devine Community Center. We walked, holding up our signs and chanting various catchy phrases, including a quote from Voltaire: “We argue, nature acts”, while the media circled for photos and videos. Every few minutes, the crowd would erupt in a cheer as supportive drivers passing by would honk or give a thumbs up.
Upon arrival, we all oohed and aahed over another display of public art, this one a series of knitted waves. Enough Pie prepared a few more speakers, including Charleston’s Mayor John Tecklenburg and members from the Coastal Conservation League. We listened as they urged us, as members of the community, to encourage our friends and neighbors to get involved; to spread the word that the waterways needed protecting. Now that we had been educated, we needed to help inform the public of what was at stake if we did nothing.
Several sponsors, including Charleston Waterkeeper, The Surfrider Foundation and The Coastal Conservation League had tables with volunteers to answer questions, pamphlets with information and sign-up sheets for those who were fired up and ready to engage.
Before I go on and share the media from the day’s events, I wanted to share that I am in no way affiliated with these organizations. I’m just singing their praises because I was impressed with the event and the way these people are engaging the public and doing so much for my town. I might not be able to be physically present to help their efforts, but I will certainly do what I can through social media and my wallet.
Ok, bear with me as I inundate you with photos and video. Be sure to scroll down below for resources to find out more about Charleston’s waterways and what you can do to help.
Links to local media covering the march:
Enough Pie’s video:
I had the pleasure of hearing this gentleman speak at TEDx Charleston last year. He explains a little of what we can expect as part of our future here in Charleston. It’s not good.
Article and interactive sea level rise map from the Charleston City Paper:
Did you know: NOAA has predicted that as the ice caps continue to melt at an accelerated pace, we could experience up to a 7 foot sea level rise. Here’s what that would look like for Charleston.