Climate Activist and March Organizer, Louisville, KY
After attending a youth environmental breakfast at the festival of faith, featuring speakers Alec Loorz and Bill McKibben, my friends and I formed a group called OurEarthNow. We shared the same passion for the environment; a passion that we all collectively wanted to turn into action, and that is where the iMatter March came into play. Alec spoke about revolution, and we wanted to carry that forward, so we began creation of our own march. The mission to empower youth to take action couldn’t have matched OurEarthNow’s mission any more perfectly, so we did not hesitate when forming the vision of what our march was going to be like.
The experience was incredible, and really helped me grow as a person and an environmentalist. Honestly, planning the march was probably one of my most stressful experiences! Although collectively as a group we worked well together, we each had our own schedules. Early on we realized how hard of a process this was going to be, especially since all the help we had was from our dedicated co-organizer Tim Darst, the adult of the group. We had to come up with the plan ourselves, and that took a lot of brain power, but thankfully we were cultured kiddos and had connections within the community, which proved helpful. We created proposals that we sent to local businesses and people in Louisville to help us cover permit costs and location costs. We also contacted local newspapers and were featured on our local radio as well as a local TV station. The actual march experience was empowering itself. We chose a route that cut through highly populated areas to make sure our message was heard.
Although we were small, we marched hard and we spoke loud. The march led to a small ampitheatre where we had music and speaker s. We pulled together a show of eight local musicians and several speakers including state representatives and high school students. Experiencing the shared love from everyone in attendance was the most rewarding thing about the experience. Again, we didn’t necessarily have record attendance, but we were competing with the biggest sports game of the year between our states’ rivals. The important thing is that we formed an idea and we successfully put it to action.
It’s important to raise awareness, especially with issues as critical and controversial as climate change, and it’s even more important to march in solidarity with others. It all starts out small, and builds and builds in creation of something much larger, which goes hand in hand with the statement that although one persons voice may be like a whisper, combined voices can create a roar, and that’s why it is important to come together and speak out. Find people who share the same passions as you, and work together, because nothing can change unless you make the effort to make it change, and empower others to make that effort. If you can’t find anyone who shares the same passion as you, stand up by yourself, because one voice is much more powerful than no voice.