Close Subscribe

Get the Weekly Recap!!

Get recaps, exclusive offers, stories and discounts. We’ll never share your email address and you can opt out at any time, we promise.
I Did It: the Clean Energy March
News

I Did It: the Clean Energy March

SustainPHL nominee & GPB Contributor Lori Braunstein shares her story about her time during the March for a Clean Energy Revolution during the DNC last week.

Taking to the Streets in the Name of Clean Energy and Climate Justice

Lori Braunstein Climate March 2016 DNC

Last Sunday, I hopped on a PATCO train with fellow South Jersey activists and headed to Philly for the March for a Clean Energy Revolution. The event, held on the eve of the Democratic National Convention and convened by Pennsylvanians Against Fracking and Americans Against Fracking, was a call for climate action and an opportunity to present clean energy demands to policy makers. Attracting an estimated 10,000 people, the march was endorsed by more than 900 diverse groups from all 50 states.

The day officially started with a press conference and interfaith ceremony at City Hall featuring local and national advocacy leaders and people from communities impacted by fossil fuel extraction and infrastructure. The message of these speakers was clear— a swift and just transition to 100% renewables, an end to dirty energy and a ban on fracking.

Climate March DNC philadelphia 2016

Philadelphia City Council Woman Helen Gym, the only elected official to appear at the event, kicked off the press conference by acknowledging the region’s brutal heat wave and highlighted the role of cities and politicians in addressing the climate crisis.

Local activist Teresa Hill of ACTION United also spoke, denouncing the plan to turn Philadelphia into an energy hub for fracked gas. Laura Zuniga Caceres, daughter of slain Honduran environmental leader, Berta Caceres, ended the press conference on a poignant note.

Drawing a connection between American policy and the environmental struggles of her people, Laura shared her mother’s signature quote:

“Wake up, humanity! Time is running out!”

The West Philadelphia Orchestra provided a festive soundtrack as we made our way around City Hall and down Market Street towards Independence Plaza. Hundreds of signs, banners and pieces of art gave the march a creative, upbeat vibe.

Climate March 2016 DNC Philadelphia

My friends and I, part of the Solutions Brigade of South Jersey, marched with the Renewable Energy contingent. This march, like the one in NYC two years ago, used contingents as spaces for people to organize around specific issues, campaigns or identities and to help tell the story of the movement. It was clear to me as I looked around at the diversity of Sunday’s marchers, that this issue cuts across traditional boundaries. Chants like, “This is what democracy looks like” and “What do we want? Green Jobs! When do we want it? Now!” could be heard all up and down Market Street.

DNC-climate-march-protesters

The organizers did a great job, setting clear expectations for a peaceful march and providing plenty of hydration stations and bathrooms along the march route. Given that this was the first protest of the 2016 Democratic National Conference, the participation of impassioned Bernie Sanders supporters and other progressive activists was not surprising. Of note was a 51-foot inflatable joint that wove it’s way through the sweaty crowds, a clever visual for marijuana activists advocating to remove the drug from the Controlled Substance Act.

Climate march 2016 DNC

Feeling a bit overheated by the march’s end, I skipped the final rally in favor of a solitary air-conditioned train ride back to New Jersey. As I crossed the bridge and looked back towards the city, I thought about being among the thousands of people who braved the brutal temperatures and crowds that day. And despite the rancor of our country’s political discourse and the seriousness of the climate crisis, I recognized in myself the smallest glimmer of hope. On second thought, maybe it was just the heat!

Check out this video from The Delaware River Keepers Network and see for yourself.

Photos: Lori Braunstein

Become a Supporter!

If you love what we do you can support our mission with a one-time or monthly contribution.
array(3) {
  [0]=>
  object(WP_Term)#5905 (10) {
    ["term_id"]=>
    int(2976)
    ["name"]=>
    string(13) "Climate March"
    ["slug"]=>
    string(13) "climate-march"
    ["term_group"]=>
    int(0)
    ["term_taxonomy_id"]=>
    int(2990)
    ["taxonomy"]=>
    string(8) "post_tag"
    ["description"]=>
    string(0) ""
    ["parent"]=>
    int(0)
    ["count"]=>
    int(3)
    ["filter"]=>
    string(3) "raw"
  }
  [1]=>
  object(WP_Term)#5904 (10) {
    ["term_id"]=>
    int(3336)
    ["name"]=>
    string(30) "Democratic National Convention"
    ["slug"]=>
    string(30) "democratic-national-convention"
    ["term_group"]=>
    int(0)
    ["term_taxonomy_id"]=>
    int(3344)
    ["taxonomy"]=>
    string(8) "post_tag"
    ["description"]=>
    string(0) ""
    ["parent"]=>
    int(0)
    ["count"]=>
    int(3)
    ["filter"]=>
    string(3) "raw"
  }
  [2]=>
  object(WP_Term)#5903 (10) {
    ["term_id"]=>
    int(3342)
    ["name"]=>
    string(35) "March for a Clean Energy Revolution"
    ["slug"]=>
    string(35) "march-for-a-clean-energy-revolution"
    ["term_group"]=>
    int(0)
    ["term_taxonomy_id"]=>
    int(3350)
    ["taxonomy"]=>
    string(8) "post_tag"
    ["description"]=>
    string(0) ""
    ["parent"]=>
    int(0)
    ["count"]=>
    int(1)
    ["filter"]=>
    string(3) "raw"
  }
}
Lori Braunstein is the founder of Sustainable Cherry Hill and Director for Change Leadership at The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education. Always evolving, she enjoys figuring out how everyday people can be a force in creating a clean, green future. Reach Lori at braunsteinlori@gmail.com or @lori_braun on Twitter. View all posts by Lori Braunstein

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Green Philly

Featured
In These
Great Spots: