A Dispatch from the Climate March

Dispatch from USDAC Deputy Secretary Norman Beckett, who served as a (30-minute) artist-in-residence at Melted Away, a sculptural installation in Madison Square Park on the occasion of the Climate March:

Mama Earth, her arms outstretched, paraded down Central Park West. A giant puppet, her plea was silent, but given voice by the more than 310,000 who marched today—of all ages, ethnicities, faiths, nationalities. The beekeepers chanted, the bicyclist danced, the musicians jammed, the frontline communities led the charge, the monks meditated, the grandparents marched and marched, marking a moment in which there can be absolutely no dispute about the devastating reality of climate change and the urgent need to act now. Yesterday. Three decades ago. But, indisputably, NOW!

Despite the dire state of affairs, there was an overwhelming sense of jubilance amidst the marchers. People-power, it turns out, can be a massively celebratory affair, especially when as well-organized as this march was, and as animated by art, music, and dance, as this one was. For months leading up to this date, artists have been hard at working crafting signs, floats, puppets, participatory rituals, and more so as to fill the streets with soul and signifiers. 

In 310,000 different ways we heard one truth: it’s time to awaken to the urgent need to heal our relations with each other and with nature, to act in accordance with the reality of our interdependence. 

“Earth to earth!” one dude shouted at us as we took a break on the sidewalk to watch the march go by. “Get back in here!”

We promptly did. 

Earth to art
Art to earth
Heart to heart
Heart to hearth
Hear the earth
Near to hear
Art at heart

And now I sit in front of a three thousand pound ice sculpture that reads “The Future” and has been melting at Madison Square Park since 10am. A trickle is far less dramatic than a break. But a trickle over time leads to the same end: the eradication of all that we’ve built. Will we watch, taking occasional photos and drinking a smoothie? Or will we do something?

Of the world’s many limited resources, creativity is not one. We have it in abundance and it's time we invite everyone to step up as an artist of society, bringing our gifts and harnessing our creativity so that the future doesn’t melt before our eyes. Today showed us that we’re ready to take on that challenge as never before.

#melted_away#USDAC #publicart #peoplesclimate #globalwarming