More than 160 people, including many NAPS members, walked a little over a mile down Main Street in Kilmarnock, waving signs and chatting with spectators during the April 29 March for Climate Awareness. This local march was a sister to the People’s Climate Movement march in D.C. on the same date, and drew participants from across the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula.
The Kilmarnock march grew out of a conversation at a local Citizen’s Climate Lobby meeting. Jeff Wainscott, Bonnie Wilson, Judy Lang, and Bette Gruben discussed the possibility of hiring a bus to carry people from the Northern Neck to D.C. for the People’s Climate Movement march. When Judy Lang couldn’t find a bus for that weekend, the group decided to organize their own local event. ￼
Wearing a NAPS tee-shirt, long-time NAPS member Dr. Lynton Land spoke to the marchers at Grace Church about the important supporters of climate change action. There was no single, formal sponsor. Instead, the organizers promoted the Kilmarnock march through their personal relationships within organizations such as NAPS, the Citizens Climate Lobby, Indivisible, the Northern Neck Native Plant Society, the Audubon Society, and the Wetlands Project. They also created a Facebook page and posted announcements on web sites operated by the People’s Climate Movement, the Action Network, Organizing for Action, and others. The march eventually gained momentum in the community, with small groups independently making their own plans for participation.
The march started at the Peebles parking lot. Many people brought their own signs. Some brought extras. Very nearly everyone brought positive attitudes, reflecting a principle expressed by the organizers in the newspaper ad for the event: “bring homemade sign with positive message (what you are for rather than what or who you are against).”
It was a non-partisan, non-denominational, pro-Earth event. Throughout the march, passing drivers honked and waved to show their support. Some shop owners came out to offer encouraging words as the group ambled down Main Street.
The march ended in the parking lot of Grace Episcopal Church, where several people chose to speak to the crowd.
Art Gilbert read a welcoming and supportive statement from Reverend David May, the rector of Grace Church. Lynton Land, Judy Lang, Maureen Fair- brother, and Bette Gruben also spoke to the marchers to highlight scientific data and personal experiences, and to encourage climate activism and personal action.