THE BLOG

A Groundswell of Climate Activists

12/12/2013 10:44 am ET | Updated Feb 11, 2014

Today my wife, Connie Barlow (a science writer and evolutionary educator), got a "Google Alert" that her new video on climate change was posted on the webpage of another passionate volunteer working to dislodge our nation's logjam against taking climate action. Tenney Naumer's "Climate Change: The Next Generation" is perhaps the most efficient resource for keeping up on key scientific reports and socio-economic responses on the issue that, unquestionably, will define my generation's legacy. So it was great news that Connie's video merited a slot on this site.

I've embedded Connie's climate video at the bottom of this post, which I recommend. But first I'd like to highlight a relatively new climate action group that Connie and I will be volunteering to serve for most of 2014.

The group is The Great March for Climate Action. From March through early November 2014, two hundred or more intrepid activists will march from Santa Monica California through the desert southwest, then up the Colorado Rockies and across the Great Plains, skirting the south side of the Great Lakes, aiming to arrive in Washington D.C. just before the elections.

Connie and I will rarely be walking with the marchers. Rather, we will be speaking in churches, colleges, and other venues along their route. Our role is to rally citizen support to press for changes that will reorient the incentives of American industries and consumers toward a sustainable, green-energy future.

In the months before the action begins, another volunteer climate group is helping me schedule church venues. This organization is Interfaith Power & Light -- whose tagline is "A Religious Response to Global Warming". Truly, a groundswell of Americans -- religious and secular -- are rising up to demand action for intergenerational justice and to ensure ecosystem viability for centuries to come.

Meanwhile, Connie (who has written four biology books) is recruiting experts to speak to the marchers in each of America's diverse regions. How should the marchers be tuning their perception so as to notice that climate change is already impinging on ecologies and cultures? And how will those changes accelerate if we turn a blind eye to the credible and increasingly urgent warnings of climate scientists?

There are scores of grassroots climate advocacy groups that deserve mention. But I will end this short post with just the group that is highlighted in my wife's video. Connie, in fact, founded Torreya Guardians back in 2004. She was frustrated that officials charged with assisting the endangered Florida Torreya tree had not yet adjusted their plans to account for how climate change had already taken a toll on this beautiful conifer. Nearly a decade later (last week), she posted the videoblog below, titled "Helping Plants Move North in Anthropocene Climate." Here is the video's description:

"Climate is warming too fast for large-seeded plant species to migrate north via the animal partners (e.g., squirrels) that have dependably dispersed seeds for millions of years. In July 2008, a group of citizen-naturalists (Torreya Guardians) legally acquired 31 seedlings of the most endangered conifer in the world -- Torreya taxifolia (the "Florida Torreya") -- and then planted the seedlings beneath wild forest canopy on two private properties in the mountains of North Carolina. In this richly illustrated videoblog, the founder of Torreya Guardians (Connie Barlow) reports on what they have learned thus far -- and the frightening implications for how even common plants will soon require human assistance for keeping pace with human-caused climate change."