Climate warriors.

Author:Conniff, Ruth
Position:COMMENT - Essay

Global warming, writes Bill McKibben, co-founder of, is "the biggest thing humans have ever done."

The terrible events triggered by our fossil-fuel addiction hit the news every day: rising seas, floods, drought, the death of the Great Barrier Reef, melting polar ice caps. The destruction is overwhelming.

Marchers in cities around the globe on Earth Day sounded the alarm, as thousands of generally apolitical researchers and their allies took on the rapacious fossil-fuel industry and its good friend in the White House, President Donald Trump, who has led the charge to abandon reason.


Women and men in lab coats, carrying signs with some truly nerdy puns, took to the streets in the marches for science on April 22.

In London, Progressive contributor Dawn Starin reported on our website from the march, which wound past the Imperial College, the Royal Geographical Society, and 10 Downing Street, as scientists chanted: "What do we want? Evidence-based policy. When do we want it? After peer review!" and "Hey ho, hey ho, ignorance has got to go!" and, in a bit of self-conscious irony, "Science--good at asking questions. Not so good at slogans."

There was some controversy in the lead-up to the march about scientists engaging in such an overtly political action. But increasingly facts, observable phenomena, and the truth itself have become political targets. There is really no choice but to join the resistance if you care about those things.

On Trumps hundredth day in office, a week after the scientists took to the streets, more than 200,000 participants in the Peoples March for Climate, Jobs, and Justice closed down the streets in Washington, D.C., and surrounded the White House. Like the Women's March the day after the Inauguration, it was a very large and visible public rebuke.

As the name of the march implied, environmentalists have joined forces with the labor and racial justice movements, recognizing that working people, the poor, and people of color are on the front lines, the first to suffer from destructive industrial policies.

Perversely, the aggressive know-nothingism of the Trump Administration might benefit the cause.

As The Progressive reported on our website, the Bureau of Land Management changed the photo on its homepage from a beauty shot of a man out hiking with his son in a national park to a photo of a large, open-pit mine. Talk about a public relations coup.

The hidden upside to our dire situation...

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