Last Sunday, I rallied a small group of adults and kids, and participated in the People’s Climate March. In the days before, my Facebook news feed had started lighting up with friends making plans to march. I grew up in DC, where going to protests was a regular part of life, and I suddenly realized that I had never taken my kids to a single protest or march. Saturday night, we quickly came up with some clever ideas for our signs, and Sunday morning joined throngs of other Brooklynites on a packed subway train, and made our uptown to join the hordes.
We found ourselves in a holding area on 58th Street, waiting for hours for the rest of the marchers to pass, so our group could join the back of the march. There were so many people marching, we were told, that this was taking much longer than expected. Many people cheered at this news, though I have to admit, my kids’ energy was waning, and they weren’t the least bit interested in the various inspirational speeches and songs, including Peter Yarrow singing “Where Have All the Flowers Gone.” Still, we somehow persevered until it was our turn to join the march.
Once we finally started marching, things were looking up. We joined some chants, and my seven-year-old even got her own chant going: “ICE IS NICE! ICE IS NICE!” There were marchers as far as the eye could see, in both directions. Accompanying all the marchers were signs, floats, costumes and chants. Despite their flagging energy, the kids could not deny – it was powerful.
When we left the march, we made our way to the hotel where my in-laws were staying. On the way, several people asked if they could photograph my daughters with their signs. We had also been taking photos and posting them to Facebook all day. After about 5 hours of combined standing and marching, we finally plopped down on the sofa in the hotel, where CNN was on. We assumed we would see coverage of the amazing march we had just partaken in and that was still going on at that moment. In fact, though it seemed like a slow news day, there was no march coverage that we saw. We flipped a bunch of channels and saw no coverage. Oh well, it was Sunday afternoon, we figured. We were sure the networks would be all over it on Monday. After all, my Facebook feed was pulsating with climate march photos!
Monday morning came, and while NPR and the New York Times certainly featured climate march coverage, I was shocked that the major TV networks were ignoring what was being called the largest climate march in history! Estimates were in the 300,000’s, and have since been updated to 400,000. Yet, here is a screen shot of CNN’s top stories for the day.
Yes, the Clinton grandchild hints and South Park marking the NFL were “the latest.” Biggest climate march in history? That’s “opinion.” If you were already interested in the topic of climate change, chances are you were hearing about the march from your like-minded social media friends, or from your climate-friendly news outlets. In your filter bubble, climate change is something everyone cares about. But if climate change was the furthest thing from your mind, then you may have heard nothing about the estimate 400,000 people who marched in NYC on September 21, 2014.