On Sunday, February 17th, 50,000 people released their power on the White House and put pressure on the Obama administration to take action on the climate crisis.
UVM sent down it’s own bus, along with the three 350.VT busses from the Burlington area, to be a part of this movement. I was lucky enough to get to drive down to DC with 4 other SCC members for the rally. By 11:30am we were on the move, walking down the streets to meet at the Washington monument. We walked in with the hundreds of people filing down the street, and were met by the thousands of people already there. People were starting to congregate around the stage, and we got right up close to the platform. Greenpeacers met up with us, and as is in the Greenpeace SNAC fashion, we started a dance party for climate action.
Around 12:00 pm, the speakers began to line up and one by one go through and speak. When Bill Mckibben spoke to kick off the event, it started to sink in for me the reality of this crisis, and where I fit in to the solution. His speech referenced the last biggest social movement for Civil Rights in the 60’s that also marched on the White House. And I was now a part of the biggest social movement in history. I will be able to say that I did something, and no one can take that away from me. If I wasn’t there, the rally would have still happened, there would still have been around 50,000 people, and life would go on. But I was there, and I did something, and for the first time, I was able to feel the power of the cause I have been fighting for. Up in VT it can get secluded with regards to climate action, doing the same things over and over. But I was in DC, in the middle of a crowd 50,000 people strong, all chanting the same thing, all rallying for the same cause, all committed to the future of our generation and our planet.
Bill continued on to say that right now, Obama has a choice. His choice is bigger than just voting on the Keystone XL pipeline. His choice will echo in eternity, and the echoes will either be of regret and shame, or they will echo the sounds of change and greatness. We were a piece of that change, and were unified for the first time as one powerful force.
After speakers like Van Jones, US Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Rosario Dawson, first nation representative Chief Jaqueline, and many others spoke, we began our march on the white house. We took to the streets, and were chanting “Hey Obama, we don’t want your climate drama” and “USA take a stand, keep the oil in the land” and my favorite, “Show me what democracy looks like, this is what democracy looks like”.
Although Obama was in Florida golfing with Tiger Woods, our voices from Sunday cannot be unheard. He cannot ignore our plea for his administration to take action on our climate crisis, nor can he ignore the reality of his future, of my future. Kid President was sadly not at the rally, but his words are an important in our fight, “This is your time, this is my time, this is our time.” So let’s do something with it!
- Elley Vanderlinde
- Elley Vanderlinde