Walking for Our Grandchildren

Future Hope column, July 29, 2013

By Ted Glick

Originally posted on Grist

From Friday, July 19th to Saturday, July 27th, through high heat, humidity, lightning storms and more, scores of people walked from Camp David to Harpers Ferry to the White House. Some walked the entire route, about 100 miles. This was an historic Walk for Our Grandchildren (http://2013walkforourgrandchildren.org) as part of 350.org’s Summer Heat campaign.

On the 26th 55 people were arrested inside the corporate office building in downtown DC which houses the office of Environmental Resources Management. ERM is the company which did the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the State Department on the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. This analysis said that the pipeline would have no impact on the climate.

ERM was chosen to conduct this analysis even though they have been a member of the American Petroleum Institute and have done work for Trans Canada and many other Big Oil companies. Despite a legal requirement that they do so, none of this was disclosed on the State Department’s disclosure form.

The poem below was written after the Walk ended with a march to and rally of about 500 people at Lafayette Park, across from the White House.

For My Sister and Brother Walkers:
I Love You

A friend of mine asked me yesterday,
as we were waiting/singing/chanting
to get into Lafayette Park,
if I thought we were going to
solve/get past the climate crisis.

And I said:
We will
if humankind finally learns
that love is the
operating principle
of the universe.

I believe this.

As we joined hands
for the last time yesterday,
after our nine days together
through heat and humidity,
and lighting/thunder storms
and the threat of them,
and blisters,
sweat, sweat, sweat,
wet sleeping bags and tents,
(for some) staying in jail until 2 am,
waiting/singing/chanting close to an hour
to get into Lafayette Park—

As we joined hands
under the trees,
feeling the wind,
feeling our connection,
our love for one another
and the deeper love for the earth
which came to us as a gift
over these last nine days,
I wondered who would speak up
or lead us in singing or chanting.

And as Steve began to speak
I expected a chant,
remembering, I guess,
the chant he led
the last time we all gathered
in a circle Wednesday evening
at Seneca Landing,
joining the young people
who began it,
all sitting quietly together
all of a sudden,
and remembering something from my life,
something my family does
after a larger family reunion
or a significant event of some kind
when we each share
the high points—

Remembering that,
feeling that,
as I sat
with this new family,
as Kendall described it,
I said,
Why don’t we go around the circle
and people share their
most memorable moments
up to that point in time.

(This was a turning point for the Walk
since the next day we would
divide into two groups,
one to continue walking,
the other to prepare for
and take nonviolent, risk-arrest, direct action.)

And we shared.
And Steve led a chant.

But he didn’t do that yesterday.

Yesterday he did his best
to lead us in song,
choking up but
being picked up
by others

And we made beautiful music together.

There in Lafayette Park.

At the end of the 2013 Walk for Our Grandchildren.

So many times I’ve cried
or held back tears
over this memorable week.

Lilly told me late Friday night
out on the steps
in front of St. Stephens
that she had cried
three times
during the action
Friday afternoon.

Young woman Anna
choked up
as we hugged
in the church
before leaving
on the march.

For me,
my tears
were not, are not
tears of sadness,
not mainly,
though some sadness
was/is there.

Some emotional and physical exhaustion,
some emotional release.

My tears are mainly tears of appreciation,
of thanks to the Great Spirit of Love
which rules the universe,
appreciation that I was able to be part
of this unforgettable, powerful,
moving nine days.

From the bottom of my heart,
with the deepest of feelings,
sister and brother walkers,
I love you.