On April 29, 2017, the IHS Green Team and a few volunteers, myself included, trekked down to Washington, D.C. to lend our voices and signs to the People’s Climate March. The group left the IHS parking lot at around 2:00 a.m., yawning but excited for what was to come. By the time that we arrived on the outskirts of D.C., we had already begun to hear rumors about the weather—it was going to be a sweltering 90 degrees during the peak hours of the march. Having record-high temperatures in April on the day of a climate march seemed painfully ironic.
In D.C. alone, over 200,000 people showed up to show solidarity in the face of an ever-growing climate crisis. All facets of the movement were represented, from Native American groups to religious organizations, all of whom were anxious to show their support where others had shunned it. IHS’s little cluster primarily marched with the “youth” section, where we joined in on various chants, such as “Tell me what democracy looks like!” followed by “THIS IS WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE!”
For many attendees, one of the highlights of the march occurred near its conclusion. We had begun to hear whispers that Bill Nye was mere yards behind us. Slyly, our group hung back a bit, desperate to catch a glance of the Cornellian hero. Finally, amid the sea of wide-brimmed sunhats, we saw him. It took all of our collective willpower to overcome the urge to shout “BILL BILL BILL” at him, which he probably wouldn’t have appreciated. As it turned out, the group was able to walk up to him and nervously ask for a group picture. He was understandably a little grumpy, as it was around 93 degrees at that point and he had undoubtedly been hounded countless other times that day, but thankfully, he humored us.
The experience of the People’s Climate March was truly memorable for everyone on the trip. During the long bus ride home, all the group could talk about was what the march meant for the fight for climate justice, as well as expressing collective amazement over the unique signs we saw and the tremendous crowd sizes present at the march. After a trip spanning from 2 a.m. to midnight the next day, we were sore and exhausted, but there’s no doubt that to the people involved, it was absolutely worth it.