At an environmental training meeting over the summer, I was let in on a fascinating finding by Dr. Christie Manning who studies human behavior related to environmental issues. Research shows that while most Americans do have knowledge, thoughts, and concerns related to climate change, only a small percentage are mobilized to take substantive action.
These are a small group of people categorized as “alarmed” on one end of the spectrum, and a similarly puny group of “denialists” at the other end. As the “alarmed” and the “denialists” duke it out in the media and in the political process; the vast majority of the Americans quietly reside in a territory Manning termed “the mushy middle.” There are different gradations of belief represented in the mushy middle, but the unifying feature is that you don’t hear much from any of them. They have not transformed their concerns into action.
The People’s Climate March is about making climate action visible, powerful, widespread, and contagious. The march happens in New York City on September 21st and aims to be the biggest climate march ever; coinciding with massive rallies around the globe (London, Berlin, Bogota, Istanbul, Paris, Rio, Delhi, Melbourne, Johannesburg, and Lagos). The People’s Climate March is about energizing and inspiring world leaders gathering in New York City for the United Nations 2014 Climate Summit to think bigger and bolder as they outline the framework for a world agreement in 2015. It will demonstrate our combined power to policy makers and to ourselves. The People’s Climate March is about creating the world we want, starting now:
Of course the middle need not be mushy; anyone can raise awareness about climate change. The climate movement needs moderate voices to speak up and discuss without preaching. We need a normalcy to accompany the urgency of this conversation. We need to outgrow the stigma of climate being an inflammatory or partisan topic. We need to acknowledge the reality of human impact on climate, and open our minds, our hearts, and our lives to potential solutions. The moderates in the middle are the key players in creating the social tipping point that will propel us earthlings safely, efficiently, responsibly and beautifully into the future. It’s not too late, but we don’t have a moment to lose!
What you can do:
Ride a bus from MN to the People’s Climate March (scholarships available)
Watch and share “Disruption“: an informing and inspiring new film on climate change and the movement leading up to the march
Send firstname.lastname@example.org an email to volunteer by donating food, planning bus activities, getting the word out, etc
Keep the conversation going. Learn, act, and make your voice heard.