Day 29: Not One, But Many

BY TERESA THOMPSON | March 13th, 2024
Today’s readings

I got a little lost on my way to the NYC Climate March last September. It was a still and quiet Sunday morning, and I wasn’t so familiar with the neighborhood where Catholic attendees planned to gather for mass before kickoff. Slipping into a back pew of the church in the middle of the opening hymn, I craned my neck but couldn’t see anyone I knew in the crowd – just a sea of baseball caps and water bottles, protest signs and durable walking shoes.

Pilgriming from the church to Broadway, I felt so awkward being there on my own. I considered going home, thinking to myself “I’m just one person, my presence here isn’t really going to make a difference”. That, I suddenly reflected, was the central dilemma around taking action on climate change for me – taking action as one individual often seemed so overwhelming and hopeless.

And yet, something shifted within me as I meandered through those gathered for the march. I never found the group I initially intended to march with, but I found everyone (and I mean everyone) else. The socialists, the Quakers, teachers, Muslims, Indigenous groups, LGBTQ groups, nurses, unions, elders, babies, people from far away places like Nigeria – and, New Jersey. As many as 75,000 people were estimated to have been at the march that day – objectively, I’d never been less alone in my life. 

The sun burned our skin but it didn’t smart, our feet throbbed but they didn’t ache. God cut a road through all our mountains, and made our highways level. We felt powerful together, the thousands of us, our voices, and God – powerful enough to take on the fossil fuel industry, even. We are going to be okay.

Reflection questions:

  1. Where or in what ways do you feel overwhelmed in the pursuit of social justice? How can you deepen your connections with others and reliance on God as sources of fortitude?
  2. How can you and the communities you belong to take collective action to address climate change?
3 replies
  1. Andrew Lee
    Andrew Lee says:

    I feel overwhelmed, because of the upcoming election and its potential implications for all social justice issues.

  2. Silvia Munoz
    Silvia Munoz says:

    I have asked myself what am I doing here fight for immigrant justice? I’m often overwhelmed by the magnitude of the problem and the criminalization of immigrants and their advocates.
    I also feel overwhelmed by the coming election and what could happen, as well as the apathy on issues with climate change all around me. But I do know that God walks with me and that thought sustains me.

  3. sonja
    sonja says:

    Climate change is about actually caring for our soil and planting trees for the future and caring for them for as long as you live and then passing the care on to our progeny. It is not paying extra taxes on the assumption someone else will plant trees on your behalf. That’s just a tax dodge and very suspect. If we plant and care for the plants we sow from seed. Then we know we have made a difference. Our world will be one tree better off, or more. In my teens we learnt that for every tree felled we have to plant 100 trees. The world seems to have forgotten this basic maxim and plants may be one tree for every 1000 felled.


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