On Monday afternoon Climate Change marchers from children to retirees that started in Los Angeles advanced into Payson, flanked by a police and Boy Scout escort, flags fluttering.
Organized by Ed Fallon, a former congressman for Iowa and activist, the Climate Change March hopes to bring awareness of the role carbon emissions make on the globe. The marchers started from California on March 1 and hope to arrive in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 1.
The marchers carried placards and a banner that proclaimed: Climate Justice and You Are The Solution.
They wore ocean blue colored T-shirts with a lime green map of the United States etched with the words: Climate March.
“Marching in and of itself is not going to change anything,” said Fallon, “but the march represents the commitment that hundreds of people are willing to make to get the rest of the country thinking about, talking about the commitment we all need to make to move beyond this crisis.”
Talking about climate change and what we can do to make a difference is exactly why Mary DeCamp joined the march from day one.
DeCamp, a wiry woman with glasses and short brown hair, brought her mixed breed 11-year-old mutt named Birdie on the adventure.
“We’re asked to raise money to help support the march,” she said. “Birdie helps.”
DeCamp has a stroller and dog booties to make the march as pleasant as possible for Birdie.
The activist taught at the college level and DeCamp became involved in a number of causes.
She now feels compelled to speak out for the care of the planet.
“In a house, if you don’t keep it clean, it gets bad pretty fast,” she said. “If you think of the globe as a bigger house it makes sense we need to keep care of it.”
Mary has volunteered to do public outreach. The marchers rotate tasks like set up, cooking and clean up.
DeCamp said she enjoys talking one-on-one with the people in the communities the march goes through, as does Michael Zambrano, a recent college graduate with swarthy good looks and astonishing blue-green eyes.
“My dad is from Mexico and my mom is from California,” he said to explain his background.
Zambrano became involved with climate change activism during his undergrad years at San Francisco State, where he majored in environmental studies.
“Every school has an endowment,” he said. “Our group successfully stopped our school from investing in fossil fuels.”
Zambrano heard about the march at a conference in Pittsburgh. He originally thought he would ride his bike across the country to raise awareness, but he enjoys the camaraderie of the marching community.
“I’m excited to be part of history and hearing people’s perspective (on climate change),” said Zambrano.
DeCamp said she believes humanity can make a change.
“Since we are such an inventive species, I believe we can take collective action, change habits and improve the world,” she said.
“I had a conversation with a Jehovah’s Witness in Dimi café. ‘God gave us this planet as a gift to take care of,’ the woman agreed with me. She allowed a gift of hugging when we parted — I believe because we are serving universal good will.”