I admit, I didn’t vote in this past election. I was kinda busy with other stuff. I have never been very involved in politics, although normally I do vote. I, like many of us, would say smart things, but not do anything to make them a reality. That wasn’t the case this past weekend. Hundreds of thousands of people gathered to show support for environmental policies that protect our world. While I did not attend the People’s Climate March in DC, I did attend one more local to me. While our numbers were much smaller, it was an impressive turn out for a small Midwestern community. I went because the issues that are being decided are very dear to me. Our well-being and our environment are deeply intertwined. As I sat in the bleachers listening to the speakers I realized that this wasn’t truly a protest, instead it was a rally for hope.
By definition a protest is a statement or action expressing disapproval of or objection to something. While we were all there because we disapprove of what is currently happening with the environmental policy in America and we want to raise awareness, it served a more important function. It was a moment of hope for all who attended. It should serve as a symbol of hope to all those who did not attend some sort of protest, but still feel that we are not making wise decisions. Hundreds of thousands of people came together. We are working on making a difference. Politicians should be worried; well, those who deny facts and make decisions that benefit corporations instead of people they represent.
As I listened to the different speakers they all had the same message, hope. For many this time has become one of our darkest. During these times it’s easy to fall into despair or hopelessness. These are the moments when it’s most important to keep pushing forward, knowing that you will lose if you give up. If you continue to move forward then there is always hope that it will change.
It will change because people like me and you will take action. We will change our habits. We will work to leave less of a footprint on this world. Everyday more and more people are changing the way they live. It begins by changing the way we think. By changing what we value. We need to change before we are forced to change. We need to keep making changes to create a balanced environment with nature and we need to encourage others to do it as well.
Many of us have kept silent because we don’t like to force our views on others. What we need to realize is that by sharing our life we are not forcing anyone to take action. Others of us keep quiet because we don’t want to have to defend ourselves or face criticism. Still others don’t speak out because they don’t think it will matter. If we all raise our voices we’d see how many of us there are. Our example would help to show many people that believe otherwise how it can be different. Every time someone succeeds it serves to inspire at least one person.
This is what the protest was about. Knowing that there is hope and we have power, we only need to claim it. We need to be willing to stand up for our beliefs. This doesn’t mean we accuse, blame, or direct negativity at others. Instead we should focus on what we can do to reduce our impact on the environment and how we can reduce everyone’s impact on this world. This is a time where we can shine if we decide to.