Here's the truth: I've been known to faint in crowds and heat. As an activist spirit, I've joined big groups to march for change -- the walks for AIDS and cancer; the Take Back the Night rallies; the peace and human- and animal-rights protests. But the older I get, the more I avoid crowded, hot events, and I'm really OK with that.
But then, see, there's this big People's Climate March coming this weekend, Sept. 21, in New York City, and in some 1,500 cities like mine around the globe. And it's important.
Friends are going to our city's march, to use their physical presence as a show of support for preserving our Mother Earth. Right on. I want to support that. I want to encourage lots of people to join and march, to make a statement about the importance of doing something on a large sale about climate change.
Because it's time: The scientists have weighed in on the reality of climate change, we're seeing the effects on our weather and ecosystems, all the world's major religions are on board, and even the top business publications are saying fighting climate change will help the economy. The People's Climate March will be huge and will hopefully make a real impact on public and media urgency about this issue.
For me, though, there's that crowd/fainting thing (and, ironically, it happens to be unusually hot this week here in San Diego). So, I'm not sure if I'm going to make the march. And if I don't, I want to find alternative ways to support it and be an activist for climate change, especially this weekend.
I've talked with others who feel similarly -- who also want to do something to make a difference on climate change beyond what we can do in our own homes, but not necessarily take to the streets en masse.
So, today, I'm sharing with fellow activist spirits five simple ways we can support this weekend's People's Climate March and what it stands for, even if we're not physically present.
1. Be a virtual marcher.
If you aren't going to take to the streets, march from your living room. Sign up as a virtual marcher to show your support, and join the "Marchers & Virtual Marchers" Facebook group to stay in the loop.
2. Share info and photos on social media.
Post articles about the People's Climate March and in support of climate action this weekend. Take photos or videos of yourself, family and friends at natural sites that have been affected by climate change, and try holding posters about climate change. Use the hashtag #peoplesclimate and send photos to nonprofit 350.org.
3. Study up and talk it up.
Learn all you can, and talk with everyone about it. The Yale Project on Climate Change Communication has a great resource list of reliable information sources. You can also watch the climate-change film Disruption for free online, or attend a screening of Cowspiracy about how animal agriculture impacts climate change. Get some friends together, watch and discuss.
4. Write opinion pieces and letters.
Write a blog post, a letter to the editor, or an op-ed piece. Write letters to your political representatives, employers, cities and school districts to encourage carbon-neutral and Earth-friendly policies and practices.
5. Join a climate-action nonprofit.
You'll get information, action items and camaraderie with other climate-change citizen-activists, online and in person if you like. The People's Climate March has groups to join, and nonprofits like Citizens Climate Lobby and 350.org are also well-organized to make a difference.
So I invite you to join the crowds in New York or in your city at the historic People's Climate March this Sunday -- or else try any number of these five ways to join the march in spirit, and speak out beyond this weekend to save our planet.