On Sunday, September 21 I sat at my computer in my home. I kept hearing the sound of cheering and excitement out my window. After looking and seeing all of the signs and posters, I realized that these were all people heading over to the People's Climate March. I had heard and seen posters for the march, but had no idea what it was, so I decided to take a look for myself.
I arrived at the entrance on 81st and Central Park West, and my jaw dropped. All I saw was a continuous stream of people entering this huge crowd. The sounds of chanting, drumming, cheering and general conversation flooded my ears all at once. I didn't even know where to begin! Should I look around and get familiar with the situation and take pictures first, or start asking people? That decision was made for me when I saw a man in a blue leotard wearing a blue visor leisurely strolled by me.
When I asked him his name, I was told "Waterman." When I asked him why he was at the march that day, he told me
Because you really need to raise awareness on water issues, and how are you going to do that without new superheroes? If you wanted to build the American way, you had Superman and Captain America. For water you need a superhero. We all know Aquaman was in the water and he was great and wonderful, he did his job. But we need now not someone who rides on seahorses, but we need someone who actually speaks for the water, and speaks with water. 80 percent of peoples' lives revolve around water, so they love that innately. People love the power of the superhero, and a superhero being amongst them. That's why it's such a powerful archetype to raise people's awareness on water issues. Not just your basic water issues like scarcity or water pollution, but also heatlh and well-being. We could completely FLIP medicine in this country if we bring back hydrotherapy.
Meanwhile he was high-fiving and smiling to everyone that passed.
After that amazing interaction, I decided to try to find someone a little more low-key -- someone who could represent the general march-goer that day. I found a woman carrying a piece of art that she had hand-painted herself the night before. When I asked her why she was there, she simply said "solidarity." After waiting a second, I decided to move on to my next question, which was what her message was. This time I got a much more satisfying:
It's not really about saving starving children somewhere else or dealing with an oil spill or melting ice caps in a far away place. It's literally about saving YOUR planet and those people in the planet that you love or care about because they're going get swept away in this madness too. So I'm trying to appeal to the base level, the instinctual need to protect.
She told me her name was Kelly, and after taking a picture she too disappeared into the crowd.
I talked to many more people, but on my way out I found the one person who summed up the situation and the need for the march almost perfectly. When I asked him why he was there, I was told:
To show my support for changes in the global program where no one is responding to all the pollution that is getting put out there now they're thinking that gas is going to be the answer, and gas is not the answer with methane, and people have got to realize we got to go solar. I'm also really pleased with the turnout today. This turnout is phenomenal, people from all over the country: California, Texas, I met people from Nevada. People are saying enough is enough, we're not getting any action from Politians, our 'leaders' and we had it! We're not gonna take it anymore. And this march is to show you we want some action!
After conversing with him some more, I asked his name. He told me he was retired Philadelphia police Captain Ray Lewis. The very same retired captain that was famously arrested in his uniform three years ago during the Occupy Wall Street protest.
As I meandered away, I became awestruck by the sheer volume of people who had come to this event. Later I learned that 300,000 people marched that day. To make it even better, I was one of them! I got to see firsthand how passionate and how badly people want to make this world a better and safer place for all of us. I also got to see a new community of citizens of a future eco-friendly world come together to make their voice heard. All that's left is for some legislative changes to begin making a difference, because everyone in the world saw that people now care.