Walking the cobblestone streets of a small New England town yesterday morning, I came upon a young woman singing gospel songs in front of an old colonial church. In her right hand was a six-month-old baby and in her left was a hand-painted sign with a painting of the earth and the words, “We all must live here.  The Peoples’ Climate March.”

Yesterday, more than 400,000 people marched on the UN Climate Change Meeting in New York City to raise awareness of the issue. Each marcher had her own reason for going to the event but, in aggregate, it was to show politicians that there is a growing community of people who seek action on this topic and are willing to do the work to raise the issue for this and future generations.

Participants in the September 21 Climate Change March
Participants in the September 21 Climate Change March

As a country, the U.S. celebrates selflessness in others. Generations of service, be it military or philanthropic, has always focused on the future rather than the present.  And climate change – in all of its forms and its various implications — is a multi-generational challenge. It holds the potential for drastic negative consequences, but to date there been little movement by the government on policies that can mitigate some of the potential hazards. However, the March highlights the mounting support by concerned citizens, which prompted me to step back and consider what is really at stake.

Across the globe, every parent’s wish is that her child’s life will be better than her own. That means that our generation must be committed to making the changes that may only be fully realized by our grandchildren – whether at the federal policy level or in your community. And so, with the march as a backdrop, I will make this request: the next time you see a mother or father with a small child, think about what we need to do in order to make that child’s world better than our own. Simply taking the moment to consider the possibilities – if multiplied across all the inhabitants of the planet – would bring inspiring transformation needed to address so many challenges at every level of society.

When you lend your voice and support to the climate change issue and rally for movement on the policies there, you will make a difference in a child’s life. Perhaps more than one.

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