Call me Tevye.
On the one hand… I can say that Organic Consumers Association was being opportunistic by broadcasting their message - COOK ORGANIC NOT THE PLANET – at the “Forward on Climate Rally” to stop the Keystone pipeline held this past Sunday, February 17, in Washington, D.C.
It was, after all, the largest non-nuclear pro-environment march to converge in front of the White House – ever. With over 40,000 in attendance braving the bitter cold and whipping wind, the message being brought to President Obama was “it’s time to live up to your rhetoric, take us forward on climate, and say no the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.”
On the other hand… it felt great to be met by the smiling faces of Organic Consumers Association, who stationed themselves as meet and greeters when we got up to street level at the Smithsonian metro station. OCA was there in solidarity to join forces with Sierra Club, 350.org, the Hip Hop Caucus and more than 90 other organizations.
They wanted to emphasize the critical but often overlooked role factory farming plays in contributing to our planet’s rapidly warming climate. It made perfect sense, and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who felt simpatico with the converging crowd – our unity of hearts and minds focused on one vision – save our planet from human destruction before it’s truly too late for our species and all creatures… to live life as we know it.
On the other hand… it was an environmental rally focused specifically on stopping completion of the pipeline and ramping up clean energy production. The rally was a battle cry saying we won’t be silenced, we won’t go away and this movement isn’t going to stop… in fact, it’s growing. College students from across the country were there, many of whom are hard at work running fossil fuel divestment campaigns on their campuses.
On the other hand… the simple presence of Organic Consumers reminded me of the fact that we are interdependent on all of life and complicit to the Earth’s demise with many of our everyday choices because of our lifestyle expectations. From the consumer end we can make a difference and must make better choices, and food is an integral facet of this conversation.
According to the Worldwatch Institute, the production of meat, eggs and milk on factory farms is responsible for more than 50 percent of greenhouse gas emissions.
“We have the technology to save the planet,” said OCA National Director Ronnie Cummins (OCA). “By abolishing factory farms and industrial and GMO crop cultivation, and transitioning back to carbon ranching and organic farming, we could potentially sequester the overwhelming majority of greenhouse gas emissions, and bring the CO2 level back down to the safe level of 350 parts-per-million. That’s the number scientist say we must achieve in order to avert a climate crisis.”
As Bill McKibben, author and founder of 350.org, writes in his article, The Only Way to Have a Cow, “We should simply stop eating factory-farmed meat, and the effects on climate change would be but one of the many benefits.”
Only time will tell if this march provided the catalyst to thrust us into the green energy age it is hoping to usher. Surely it was an impressive turnout, especially on such a frigid day. I know this much – we need our Mother Earth. Our life depends upon the health of our blue-green planet. After all, as my favorite sign of the day said:
On the other hand… I’m not so sure the Earth needs us.
Here are a few more photos of the day:
I was so happy to have met Nicholas, the organizing master of the Genetic Crimes Unit of Occupy Monsanto.
Not just humans had something to make a fuss about at this rally.