How Sunday’s Climate Change March Failed

Climate Change March New York City


An aside: I fully support changes to help reverse climate change and better our earth. The passion of this article is in no way directed negatively to the cause, or the people’s right to protest, but simply an error that could have made Sunday’s March much more effective.


As a New Yorker, I am pretty numb to protests and gatherings of virtually all kinds. Living in one of the largest cities in the world, you’re bound to experience some type of protest at least once a day.


But this past weekend, nearly 400,000 people from all walks of life turned out for the Climate Change March. Marchers snaked their way from Columbus Circle, to Times Square to the Far West Side of the City. Celebrities and political figures showed up to show their support and pledge their commitment to making changes in daily operations to reduce the carbon footprint of the human race.


While I was inspired and empowered by the shear exhibition of democracy in protest of something that truly affects each and every one of us, I was absolutely APPALLED by the aftermath.


Climate change march fail



This article gives a clear picture of what some of these environmentalists left behind them. I’ve been to my share of parades and street fairs. I see the aftermath of litter and filth left in the city streets for the man (and gas) powered street sweepers and garbage trucks to pick up. But from a group of people protesting the very thing they’re leaving behind? What an epic failure.


I’ve spoken before about how important Mission Statements are. Essentially, I offered that you should choose the words of your mission statement wisely, being sure not to be too specific to avoid any mishaps or broken promises. But this isn’t about a mission statement. This is about a mission.


While I realize there weren’t 400,000 empty Starbucks cups lying on the streets of Midtown New York, there were quite a few. Not only is the plastic not in a recycle bin, but Starbucks isn’t the most earth-conscious coffee retailer these folks could buy from. It’s this small percentage of protesters who truly ruined the message for me.


Climate Change is real. It is a real issue. But rather than close down some streets in the Financial District and make it difficult for people to get to work, or even just do their jobs, why don’t you invest in a reusable coffee mug and purchase from a local vendor. Take that cup home, wash it out, and reuse it again tomorrow. You’ve already saved the ocean from one piece of potential garbage. Or perhaps you can use your words and not paper or cardboard. Or perhaps just gathering garbage in a central location – separating recyclables – could have been a compromise.


I guess my point is this: It takes a small change made by many to really make any difference. Anyone can stand around and scream about something they don’t like. A lot of people can stand around and talk about solutions to the problem. But how many can actually act on the problem.


Whatever your cause, take steps each and every day to further it yourself. Your words and passion are needed, but actions speak much louder than words ever will.