If I could have conceived a more difficult start to the Climate March, I’m not sure what it would have been. In Southern California, where drought has plagued the region, who could have imagined three days of heavy rain? The worst day was today – the start of our 3000-mile March.
On top of that, Day One was long – a 19.4-mile trek through Los Angeles’ industrial underbelly and some of its most impoverished neighborhoods. The start of the rally was an auspicious location: a park overlooking the towering infrastructure of the Port of LA’s oil refineries, which are poised to beef-up production at a time when climate models make it clear we need to cut back dramatically on fossil fuel consumption. Over 1,500 people turned out for an invigorating rally and the first two miles of marching. The rain held off. It was a glorious start.
Then the rains resumed.
It was like Iowa in June, complete with thunder, lightning and torrential downpours. The rain turned city streets into raging rivers. Crossing intersections often involved wading through water up to our calves. Two marchers had to stop due to the risk of hypothermia. Others bailed out for a variety of reasons, including the need for strong backs to extricate our gear truck from the mud at our previous camp.
I was able to walk the entire distance, with great difficulty, and made it to our overnight stop at All Peoples Christian Church at 9:30 pm. Due to weather conditions, church members at the last minute let us stay inside, a kindness that was extremely well received by marchers. I was too exhausted to do much other than wash up a little and crawl into my sleeping bag.
Day Two is only 8.4 miles. I’m not sure what to expect. Maybe the shorter distance will be a relief. Or we will still be too sore from Day One for it to matter. The rains are forecast to continue, so perhaps we should plan on being as miserable as yesterday.
From Los Angeles, Ed Fallon