Personal reflection on the People’s Climate March: Anne Sensenig

rsz_20140921_nyc_-_anne_at_start_of_march_-_copy“I am not a march ‘junkie’ – more of a homebody. But when the issues become urgent enough on moral, spiritual and civic grounds, I feel compelled to take to the streets to vote with my body.”


By Anne Sensenig, Community Mennonite Church, Lancaster, Pennsylvania

I am affiliated with Community Mennonite Church of Lancaster (CMCL) and the Lancaster Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL). Together they created the impetus for me to sign up for this march. I’ve been on the CCL mailing list for some months, but before the march, the only thing I’d done was write letters to Congress and the President a couple of times.

I am not a march “junkie” – more of a homebody. But when the issues become urgent enough on moral, spiritual and civic grounds, I feel compelled to take to the streets to vote with my body.

I had decided New York City was too far, the cost for the bus too much; and besides, my Sunday would be shot. But a few days before the event, a young member of CMCL organized a viewing of the documentary “Disruption” about climate change and the reasons organizers felt participation in the People’s Climate March on September 21 was critical. I felt convicted.

Over the past 5 to 10 years, while living in New Mexico, the issue of climate change had gone from a blip on my radar to being what I consider the most critical issue facing humans – and in fact all plant and animal life – today, an issue that will be at the root of many other concerns, moving forward.  Yet, looking at my life, you probably wouldn’t have guessed this to be one of my highest priorities. I decided I’d better let my feet do some talking. Happily, the willingness of another song leader to cover my Sunday morning duties allowed me to take the trip.

The People’s Climate March was an amazing spectacle, a huge street festival, a study in human variety and creative expression. Taking in the sights and sounds as I wandered up and down the sidelines and walked in the midst of the masses, I felt a bit like an anthropological tourist.

It wasn’t until 12:58 p.m., at the signal for the planned moment of silence, that I was viscerally grounded in the reason we were all there: to remember the gravity of the issue at hand, and mourn the damage already done and the serious impacts still to come, even if we commit now to begin the transformation from fossil fuels to renewable energy. That full moment of stillness in the heart of Manhattan – more than 300,000 people with their arms raised – unified in their love for this earth and concern about the destruction of the profusion of her life forms, brought a sudden tear to my eyes.

Photo: Anne Sensenig at the People’s Climate March in New York City, September 21, 2014.


See more photos of Mennonites at the People’s Climate March

Read about the People’s March and the U.N. Climate Summit in Third Way Café

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