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People’s Climate March Brings 400,000 to NYC

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This past Sunday, more than 400,000 people gathered near Columbus Circle for the People’s Climate March. The gatherings extended globally, with hundreds of thousands more marching across the world.  And it got plenty of attention from popular media, including this amusing plug from Jon Stewart.

More than 1,500 groups were a part of the march in New York, including labor unions, faith groups, political organizations, universities, indigenous peoples, and people with no affiliation at all other than being human.  Because everyone shares the planet. And the number of people who turned out for this march shows that it is a cause that people of all backgrounds can support.

At 12:58, there was a moment of silence for the victims of climate change.  Many people lose their homes, food supplies, and livelihoods due to natural disasters impacted by global warming. So at that moment, this crowd of people was silenced for them.

Immediately after, there was an uproar of planned noise, meant to symbolize the citizens of the world sounding an alarm for climate, because time is running out to enact policy change that will drastically improve the fragile future of our planet.

And, as it turns out, the message was heard. Press was everywhere, and the march made the front page of the New York Times. Activists put the UN in a pressure cooker, drawing everyone’s attention to policymakers and how they will address the impacts their countries are making on climate change.  And the media covered it. Climate change has never before been such a visible issue, and that means that change is becoming more and more likely to happen.

The march had no formal demands, but it is widely understood among climate scientists and environmentalists that carbon emissions must be reduced drastically and soon. Along with limiting emissions, many hope that governments will invest in renewable sources of energy, like wind and solar, in order to provide energy for their countries. Plus, such investments would create huge numbers of jobs, making the transition from fossil fuels smooth and uplifting for the economy.

 As frustrating as the whole democratic process can be, this is a meaningful turning point in my mind. Environmentalists finally got legitimate attention for the need for climate justice in policymaking.

But in the meantime, if you want something concrete to do to help this cause, grow and advocate for plants, especially hemp. It is a multipurpose product that could put paper and cotton companies in serious jeopardy because it makes a mean paper and fiber. Hemp must be made legal soon in this country in order to minimize our environmental impacts, like the deforestation that comes from ordinary paper.

 Not only is hemp more renewable than lumber (because it takes less time to grow), it is four times more productive per acre. Talk about a good deal for the economy in potential growth from a hemp market and for the planet’s plants, which are a huge sink for carbon in the atmosphere because they use carbon dioxide in photosynthesis to produce the sugars that allow them to live.
Plants actively fight global warming by removing greenhouse gas from the atmosphere. So grow anything and everything, and help the planet keep breathing easily. Growing is a decision you should feel great about.

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