People’s Climate March: Let’s Raise Awareness for the Boundary Waters Wilderness


This Saturday, millions of people will take to the streets in cities and towns across six continents for the 2017 People’s Climate March. The goal is simple: to push back against climate change denial and protect the progress we have made in the last several years toward mitigating climate change. For many, including us here at the Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness, the march is an opportunity to voice a wide range of concerns connected with climate change. Sea levels are not the only thing that will change as our planet warms. Climate change also threatens water resources, agricultural production, indigenous livelihoods, and wilderness areas. As you might have guessed, the latter is of particular concern for the Friends. Minnesota is projected to experience significant warming over the next several decades, and with that will come significant statewide ecological changes. Biologists predict that the the oak savannas of central Minnesota, better suited for warmer weather than the coniferous forests to the north, will push all the way up to the Canadian border by century’s end if climate change continues unabated. This means the pine, fir, spruce, and birch that today dominate the Boundary Waters landscape will be gone, and they are likely to take with them a number of iconic animal species including moose, lynx, certain species of owl, and others (for more, click here). With clear and convincing evidence that the Boundary Waters faces grave threats as a result of climate change, we encourage all who cherish Minnesota’s northern wilderness to make their voice heard this Saturday, April 29. The Minneapolis march will begin at 2:30 PM at the US Federal Courthouse and end at Father Hennepin Bluff Park. If you do not live in the Twin Cities, visit this link to find a march near you: https://peoplesclimate.org/sister-marches/.

The People’s Climate March is a fun and easy way take an active stand on behalf of our climate and the Boundary Waters. When I was abroad in New Zealand in the fall of 2015, I had a chance to participate in the last worldwide climate march. On Thanksgiving day, some friends and I joined a crowd of around 32,000 in Wellington’s Civic Square to call for action before the 2015 Paris Climate Change Conference. It was an exhilarating experience for me, as I had never before attended such a massive event. The streets were packed full and the atmosphere was one of excitement, passion, and determination. Cheers erupted as one of the event leaders proudly listed the demands of the marchers, rallying the crowd as if she were a main act at Coachella. As we began our march toward the parliament building, I couldn’t help but notice that I was witnessing something deeply powerful. Here we were, a bunch of commoners on an island in the middle of the remote South Pacific, putting ourselves at the forefront of a worldwide democratic effort. In this era of globalization, it has become easy for individuals to feel small and powerless. So often it seems as though we have been forced to watch the planet suffer, constantly inundated with more bad news about climate change and other social and environmental issues. Perhaps this explains why people marched with such ardor that day. With a sense of connection with millions of others across the globe through coordinated action, we experienced something that is quite rare these days–a feeling that we may actually have the capacity to influence the collective future of humanity.

Massive crowds filing into Civic Square minutes before the beginning of the march.

Massive crowds filing into Civic Square minutes before the beginning of the march.

Even the animals showed up in support! “Save the Humans!”

Even the animals showed up in support! “Save the Humans!”

The crowd reaches its final destination: the lawn of the parliament building.

The crowd reaches its final destination: the lawn of the parliament building.

A year and a half later, with even more at stake, the upcoming march is sure to be even more energetic than the last one. If you are passionate about the wellbeing of our planet and the Boundary Waters, this is your opportunity to make a lasting difference. I can personally attest that the march will be both an uplifting and rewarding experience, and your attendance is guaranteed to make the effort more effective. If you would like to bring a banner or sign and are looking for ideas, make it Boundary Waters themed! Climate change is in the same caliber as mining as a threat to our northern lakes and forests, and we at the Friends are currently focused on making as many people aware of that as we can. We are deeply excited for this Saturday, and we sincerely hope to see you at the march!

-Hardt Bergmann, Intern
Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness

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