Drawing the line in Philly, Rocky-style
Consider the line drawn.
Saturday was an amazing day of protest around the nation: 200 simultaneous actions from Miami to Alaska to Nebraska, including my very own Philadelphia. In so many ways it felt like a culmination, the latest act, though I am sure not the final one. At least 120 people turned out on a Saturday to the Art Museum steps made famous by a jogging Rocky and a crowd of fellow citizens running behind him. Interrupting the parade of contemporary runners and wedding parties, our protest was a literal line scaling all the way up those famous stairs, a barricade against business at usual.
Down in Miami, our friends were also having a sunny, fun day to illustrate the local impacts of climate change on their beloved beach-front. A human chain formed in South beach from the water's current edge, to the projected high tide line in decades to come. And as costumed mermaids and sea-critter capered on the sand – the message was clear "don't let Miami drown – Stop Keystone and Stop Climate change." The event was even covered in multiple languages by local press.
For Philadelphia our rally was also an opening line of a campaign to get our city to divest from the big oil and fossil fuel companies. And like all Pennsylvania environmental activism, it was strengthened by connections to the anti-fracking movement. Indeed a visiting Bill McKibben said on Thursday that this is really one big movement: resistance to fossil fuels. So we're nonviolently taking on everything from Keystone XL to subsidies for Big Oil. It's an environmental movement made intimate and concrete by how it affects your own community and family.
On a personal note, it was my 5 year-old daughter's 3rd climate action. When asked what the protest was about, she answered with admirable directness: "because we don't want Miami to be under water." My daughter has never been south of Virginia, but her concern for people who she has never met and who aren't even born yet put me to shame. Our conversation, in which I had to reassure her that there was still a chance to stop the worst effects of global warming, that our house was probably safe for now, a mile from the Schuykill River, but that there are people in danger, was an echo of a conversation lots of parents have had or are going to have. My daughter's final question "how can we get strong enough to stop it?" is indeed the question of the hour. But the answers seemed in sight as I looked through the great photos of the day and saw how many of us and how many other children who were also out at Draw the Line events nationwide.