8,000 Californians came together in Oakland, CA on Saturday to exercise our First Amendment rights and demand a clean renewable energy future for California.
After peaceably assembling at Frank Ogawa/Oscar Grant Plaza, we walked about two miles to the Lake Merritt Amphitheater carrying signs, posters, and flags while exercising our freedom of speech by shouting anti-fracking slogans, playing music, singing, talking to the press, and chatting with our fellow demonstrators. We reassembled peaceably at the amphitheater, enjoyed a brief rain shower, and listened to speakers from across the state talk about how fracking is affecting their communities right now.
We peaceably dispersed, some boarding buses to head for home, some going in search of food, and others attending the convergence at Laney College to talk more in-depth about organizing campaigns to ban fracking locally, regionally, and statewide.
I was heartened to see the diversity of people participating in the march, people of all ages, skin hues, occupations, and religious beliefs, united by the desire to end fracking in California and ensure everyone has clean water to drink and clean air to breathe.
The photo below captured two of my favorite signs, “Caution Children Still Alive, Go Renewable” and “Water-Drinkers Against Fracking.”
The March For Real Climate Leadership was reported to have been the largest anti-fracking demonstration in U.S. history…so far.
March For Real Climate Leadership – San Luis Obispo County Contingent
One of the most surprising things about the event was that I was actually there. I am perhaps one of the shyest people in San Luis Obispo County, not fond of crowds, and am definitely not a morning person eager to jump out of bed a 4:30 a.m. The word activist does not describe me.
However, I am passionate about doing whatever it takes to ensure my children and everyone else’s children have a habitable planet to live on in the future. This means undertaking activities outside my comfort zone like composting (I do not like creepy crawlies) and participating in public demonstrations.
When an email from 350.org hit my inbox with a notice about the March For Real Climate Leadership I thought, “Maybe we should go.” My spouse agreed, immediately signed us up, and then volunteered to bring coffee and pastries for the bus ride to Oakland.
SLO Clean Water Action spearheaded organizing a bus for the San Luis Obispo County contingent aided by several other energetic people. It was pouring rain in San Luis Obispo when the bus pulled out at 6:30 a.m. We picked up a few more people in Atascadero and headed to Oakland with about 40 people on board, including many college students and a young boy who had been inspired by Mr. Eco visiting his school.
After a trip of about 4 hours, we arrived in Oakland and were greeted by an enthusiastic volunteer who gave us the logistics run down. We took a group photo and scattered to watch the pre-march press conference and other activities.
As I was wishing I had made a sign to bring, a young woman walked by and pointed across the plaza to a collection of signs made by a group of artistic volunteers. We walked over and I selected a sign mounted on a wooden pole that I thought I could carry for several hours. Hefting the sign and waving it about made me feel like an activist and I ended up bringing the sign home on the bus to display in our yard.
We met a delightful woman on the bus and the three us spent the day together carrying our signs and chanting anti-fracking slogans during the march, searching out a Cambodian restaurant for a delicious afternoon meal, and looking in on the convergence. We made it to the rendezvous point on time, boarded the bus, and headed for San Luis Obispo about 6:00 p.m.
My spouse and I arrived home tired but happy at about 11:00 p.m. with three leftover bananas, a few extra granola bars, and a souvenir sign.
It was an exhilarating and exhausting day.
See you next time.
- 350.org – a Global Grassroots Movement to Solve the Climate Crisis
- 4th of July – Be a Green Citizen
- Earth Day 2014 – Go Green Mr. President
- Hands Across The Sand for a Clean Energy Future
- People’s Climate March – September 21, 2014 in New York City 09/15/14
- We Need More Climate Superheroes – Mr. Eco