Letters: Join the People’s Climate March This Sunday

On this Sunday, Sept. 21, beginning at 11:30 a.m., people from all across the country will gather at Columbus Circle in New York for what’s being billed as “the largest climate march in history.” I’ve never taken part in a march, but I’ll go to this one, and I encourage everyone else to head to the Dinky that morning with plenty of time to spare.

The most troubling thing about climate destabilization is that so little is being done to slow it down. The worst sorts of problems, whether at the level of the individual or global, are those that languish and deepen for lack of action. Once a problem is acknowledged and the first few significant steps are taken to solve it, there is an immediate sense of relief.

For instance, there was no lack of scary pronouncements on the world’s prospects at a meeting of Princeton’s chapter of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby this past weekend. Yet, there’s comfort in participating in a national organization working patiently for positive, bipartisan action.

At this month’s meeting, we gathered in a Princeton living room to hear via speaker phone from retired Rear Admiral Len Hering. It felt reminiscent of President Roosevelt’s fireside chats during WWII. During his career in the Navy, Hering led a successful effort to reduce the Navy’s energy consumption by 40%. I felt some kinship, having reduced our home energy consumption by a similar amount without sacrificing comfort.

Hering sees a clear and present risk to the world his three grandchildren will inherit, and says “we’re not having the adult conversation needed.” He described how a 12 year drought in Syria and the resulting social and political instability had opened the door for radical elements like ISIS. Dramatic sea level rise this century, combined with storm surges, will create millions of refugees, further destabilizing governments around the world.

These grim prognoses will be far less depressing the moment we take action and shift course. Staying with the status quo may feel safe, yet it is creating huge risks. Climate destabilization, collectively created, is a shared enemy. Action to slow it will be a unifying force, and that action must come at all levels, from the global down to the individual.

The march is timed to precede the U.N. Climate Summit later in the month. Details on how to participate in the march (e.g. no wooden sticks for banners!) can be found at PeoplesClimate.org.

Stephen Hiltner

Mr. Hiltner is a regular contributor to Planet Princeton and is the author of the blogs Princeton Nature Notes and Princeton Primer.


  1. This should be our first step in the Climate March!

    “As environmental science has advanced, it has become apparent that the human appetite for animal flesh is a driving force behind virtually every major category of environmental damage now threatening the human future: deforestation, erosion, fresh water scarcity, air and water pollution, climate change, biodiversity loss, social injustice, the destabilization of communities, and the spread of disease.” Worldwatch Institute, “Is Meat Sustainable?”

    “If every American skipped one meal of chicken per week and substituted vegetables and grains… the carbon dioxide savings would be the same as taking more than half a million cars off of U.S. roads.” Environmental Defense Fund

    “A 1% reduction in world-wide meat intake has the same benefit as a three trillion-dollar investment in solar energy.” ~ Chris Mentzel, CEO of Clean Energy

    If Al Gore can do it, you can too! I did it 26 years ago and consider it one of the best decisions of my life.
    Step by Step Guide: How to Transition to a Vegan Diet https://www.onegreenplanet.org/vegan-food/step-by-step-guide-how-to-transition-to-vegan-diet/

    1. Your comments about a high-carb (grains and vegetables) regimen are completely contrary to current thinking on the American diet, which has contributed to the runaway cases of diabetes and rampant obesity in the US. You really should read the books “Grain Brain” and “Wheat Belly” to bring yourself up to speed. After all, it’s “settled science” now.

      1. I’ve been following a vegan lifestyle for 26 years and LOST 25ibs in 2 months. Kept it off all this time despite a knee injury that keeps me from running. I know literally dozens of people who have REVERSED diabetes and gotten off of insulin completely. Watch Forks Over Knives for FREE here and then tell me what the science says. Go to https://www.hulu.com/watch/279734 and do yourself and your family a favor!

  2. Our whole family will be at the People’s Climate March–an opportunity to make our voices heard! Thanks for writing about it Stephen. We must change the way we think about the environment in which we are embedded.

  3. For those taking the Dinky, I wanted to mention that there is free parking on weekends and after business hours in the parking structure next to where the new station will be (and a short walk from the current station). This is an ongoing university policy, not just for this Sunday. Access it from Faculty Road.

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