WASHINGTON — Although these are dark days for environmentalists, the Peoples Climate March had a cheerful air Saturday afternoon as it took over the streets surrounding the federal government in Washington, D.C.
According to the event’s organizers, more than 200,000 people came from across the country to gather in the swamp’s humidity. (Apropos of the day’s event, the temperature soared past 90°F.) More than 400 official buses brought attendees to D.C., and there were some 300 satellite marches around the country.
Marchers started in front of the Capitol Building, filled out the length of Pennsylvania Avenue, and marched down to the White House. There they split in two, symbolically surrounding the White House and the longtime climate-science denier who occupies it. Then they filtered down to the National Mall. Splayed in front of the Washington Monument, they listened to speeches from front-line environmental justice activists hailing from Brooklyn to San Francisco and points halfway in between, such as the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in South Dakota.
Giant orbs rolled along representing Earth, and lighthearted signs made reference to the planet with slogans such as “Respect your mother.” Some posters mocked President Trump with slightly dark wisecracks such as “Mar-a-Lago elevation: 3 feet. It’s not all bad.” Some, such as those warning that “There is no Planet B,” were darker still. Others were meant to inspire with slogans such as “The seas are rising but so are we.”
The number of comedic political T-shirts rivaled sincere ones. Yahoo News spotted only one Hillary 2016 shirt, but three representing joke candidates for 2020: Stewart/Colbert, the Big Lebowski and Kanye West.
Slideshow: People’s Climate March across the U.S. >>>
Borrowing from the playbook of conservative Tea Party activists, Harold Fuller-Bennett of Takoma Park, Md., dressed up in Revolutionary War garb. Standing along Pennsylvania Avenue blowing his horn, Fuller-Bennett explained that he was Paul Revere, there to warn the citizens about climate change. His sign helpfully hinted at Revere’s famous ride with the phrase “One if by land, two if by sea,” and Fuller-Bennett consistently issued two honks of the horn to reference the rising seas.
Compared to the March for Science a week earlier, Saturday’s demonstration was more overtly political. When marchers passed the Trump International D.C. hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue, they started shouting, “Shame, shame” and “Check out.” Many had posters and even puppets depicting Trump in various evil poses, such as holding the Earth on a string like a yo-yo.
Only a small number of the messages called for specific policy decisions, but this is perhaps unsurprising given Trump’s hostility toward climate science and environmental regulation. The massive cuts in Trump’s proposed budget to environmental…