An estimated 150 demonstrators turned out in Dallas in 40-degree drizzly weather to show their support for action on climate change. Photos by Phillip Shinoda.
WATCH THE VIDEO, courtesy of Corey Troiani.
Nov. 30, 2015
Smiling people thronged the west end of Dallas’ Continental Avenue Bridge, waving signs for “Climate Action Now” at a few passersby despite the chilly, rainy weather on Sunday. As a four-day recordbreaking rainfall drizzled to a close, 150 people gathered from across the Metroplex, bundled in rain slickers, ski jackets and toboggans, to hear speakers, to sing, talk and finally march across the bridge and back, chanting for speedy action on climate change on the eve of the world’s 21st international climate conference.
Diverse groups were represented in the crowd and at the podium, from Black Lives Matter to System Change Not Climate Change and faith-based social and climate justice groups. (See story conclusion for a full list.) From the podium, Sister Patricia Ridgley of Sisters of St. Mary International Justice and Peace Network, quoted Pope Francis’ recently issued public challenge as he travels Africa to “resist” the adversity of climate disruption and the human failings that promote it.
Olinka Green of Black Lives Matter called for attention to communities of color and the poor, who bear the brunt of environmental degradation. She challenged listeners to bring the environmental campaign to her Oak Cliff neighborhood, “zip codes 75214 and 75211, where the meat packing plant pours pig blood and cow blood in our creek… dead animal parts get dumped. That’s not something children should see!” She noted “I’m the only black face I see here,” to murmurs of agreement. “Those in power don’t come to our homes, we need to take it to theirs to make sure they hear us!”
Speakers shared ways they had slashed their electricity costs as well as carbon emissions via solar power, mindful reductions in household power use and carbon-emission-free cars. Mark Peters, an unaffiliated vegan, challenged listeners to try a vegan diet, stating that global carbon emissions from industrial livestock raising generate 51 percent of global emissions.
Event organizers Gary Stuard of System Change and Molly Rooke of the Dallas Sierra Club promoted unified effort among progressive groups, vowing to work to make this first-time march the start of an organizing effort to “get a movement going in Dallas,” in Stuard’s words.
Common Ground Street Choir led the throng in singing “We Shall Not Be Moved,” an American black spiritual taken up as a labor anthem by U.S. textile workers. “Do it Now!” the song by Belgium-based Sing for the Climate that has traveled the world, also wafted from the bridge.
Demonstrators marched across the bridge, looking out at the Trinity River, swollen from levee to levee by an estimated total 6 to 9 inches of rain so far over the Thanksgiving holiday. “This is the third ‘100-year flood’ we’ve had this year,” someone quoted a friend. Brightly colored signs adjured onlookers “There Is no Planet B!” and displayed photos of GOP candidates with the slogan “Republicans Show Us Your Conservative Solutions!” In between chants of “No more gas! No more oil! Keep your carbon in the soil!,” “What would it take to actually transition to renewable energy?” someone else mused out loud,
Video of the March posted on Facebook within hours, intended for projection on the walls of the Paris conference center within which world leaders would enter the next morning. It was the eve of the 2015 Paris Climate Summit, or COP 21 (Conference of Parties.) The stated goals of the two-week confab are to hammer out worldwide agreement on: binding limits to carbon emissions, technical and financial assistance to Third World nations seeking to develop cleanly, and funding for technology to start the transition to renewable energy worldwide.
For independent on-site coverage of the 2015 Paris Climate Summit and the parallel people’s conference conducted by civil society groups outside the corporate-sponsored U.N. event, visit DemocracyNow.org.
For updates on grassroots global climate action, visit 350.org.
For official information and update links on 2015 Paris Climate Summit-COP 21, visit Cop21Paris.org.
GROUPS PARTICIPATING IN GLOBAL CLIMATE MARCH DALLAS
Dallas Sierra Club
System Change Not Climate Change
Sisters of St. Mary International Justice and Peace Network
Dallas Interfaith Power & Light
Communication Workers of America Local 6215-Blue-Green Alliance
Black Lives Matter
Common Ground Street Choir
Clean Water Fund
Dallas Meditation Center
Earth Day Texas
Metamorphosis Meditation of Grapevine
North Texas drumming community
Texas Campaign for the Environment