Cars News and Reviews People's Climate March: of Community, Communication, and Things Which Must Not Be Named.- CARS NEWS AND REVIEWS

Posted by Carmella Ross on Wednesday

I've a confession to make: this is my very first march, ever. But even I could tell that this was going to be special, when I showed up at the train station at an ungodly hour, and the woman who got her ticket before me turned around, glanced at the sign that CelloPlayer had made, and said cheerfully, "Looks like we're headed for the same place", before disappearing to the platform.

When I had made my way onto the same platform, I could see her sitting a bit further down. But I never got a chance to say hi to her because a gentleman came up to me and said something about my sign. I looked up, into kindly eyes framed by white hair - and a rainbow beard.

Heaven help me, I stared. Like a five-year-old.

This gentleman, easily older than myself, looked like something out of Harry Potter. In fact, I'd say he handily beats Nymphadora Tonks for colour in the hair. I suppressed an urge to see if I could make his beard change colour by, say, upsetting him with an insult; he was too nice for that, anyway. Instead, we started talking about hair (well: beard) dyeing technique. Pretty soon, we had moved on to carbon emissions and cars' fuel efficiency.

I got on the train but didn't get much of a chance to marvel at this man's easy defiance of the dress code before another man shouted, "But why save the humans?" - making his travel companion giggle, even as she rolled her eyes at me in apology. I made a lame joke, but really I wanted to say, "Because humans include you. And you just talked to me out of the blue. That's cool. There's a few mighty cool things about us."

And so it went.

Emerging, finally, at New York's Penn Station, I decided to walk to the eatery where I was to meet some friends. 8th Avenue saw a steady stream of tourists, tour hustlers, and people carrying signs and wearing T shirts that said "People before Profit" and "Citizens Climate Lobby" and "Ban Fracking Now". The tourists checked us out. The hustlers had seen everything. The climate marchers struck up easy conversations with other marchers walking alongside, speculating about the size of the march, talking of other marches, of their climate activities. Inquiring basic things: where are you from; where are you going to join the lineup?

Passing a subway station on 7th Ave, a burly man in a blue "People's Climate March" T-shirt spontaneously started to give me directions how to reach the lineup (not through Central Park which was all barricaded), then sent me on my way with a smile and a thumbs-up at my Save the Humans sign.

I waited to meet my friends at the corner of 57th and 7th Ave, balancing my sign on one foot and people watching. Among the steady stream of people headed north, there were some who permitted themselves a quick glance at the sign, then strode on, studiously avoiding eye contact. And there were lots who looked at CelloPlayer's sign, looked at my T-shirt, on which I had printed Andy Lee Robinson's Arctic Death Spiral, and registered their recognition with a smile, a nod or a short remark.

They saw me, and they knew.

They knew who I was. They knew why I was in New York that day. They were there for the same reason. All of them: the dads holding their children's hands, the bands of chatting friends, the middle aged couples dressed sensibly in shorts, T shirts and walking shoes, the groups of students sporting their school logos, the union workers assembling around their marching band, the moms pushing expensive strollers and the ones wearing their baby in a sling. They knew me. And I knew them.

Personally, I'm a loner by character; and generally, we in the west lead pretty private lives. For 400,000 people to come out and start talking to each other like we've known each other all our lives, is nothing short of astonishing. All day long, I found myself participating in those conversations - even more, initiating a few. It just blows my mind.

And these were real conversations - not of the "Hey, howya doin', have a nice day" type. Yes, we exchanged personal bits, but mostly it was about the science and politics of climate change, its effects on our everyday lives, our hopes for our children and grandchildren. We were all teaching each other - because no matter how much you already know about climate change, there is always more to learn.

Here is the really amazing part: everyone I've talked to said that they knew people who would have loved to come but couldn't make it on that day. Meaning the 400,000 that did show up in New York, and the hundreds of thousands more at rallies all around the world, are only a small fraction of the people who feel similarly about the climate change issue.

And looking at the photos of all those marches, I find that they look similar. The signs are in English, French, Hungarian, but the look and the feel of those marches is one.

The chant about democracy should have said, 'This is what community looks like." Because in the end, it is the community of people, caring for our common home, that will have to bring about the necessary change.

In the Harry Potter books, the wizards are always trying to move unobtrusively in the "ordinary" world, but never quite succeeding. Climate Marchers were not exactly trying to be unobtrusive, and we succeeded marvellously in making our presense be known, to the world - and to each other.

In a sad twist on the Potter analogy, it is not the marchers who are afraid to name climate change as the defining issue of our times, it is a few government bodies in the business-as-usual mainstream. The Harper government has muzzled Canadian meteorologists, who now aren't allowed to mention climate change in their weather forecasts. The US House of Representatives has barred the Department of Homeland Security from spending money on assessing climate change (even as the department itself is preparing for climate change which it calls the major security threat).

So climate change has acquired Voldemort status: apparently, in some corners it is now That Which Must Not Be Named.

It must be said these governments are aided by mainstream news media. A few, but far from all, major newspapers have carried the Climate March story on their front page. The silence from some TV news shows has been deafening.

That won't stop us. We will go home, and spread the word. We will put away the signs and the T shirts and the costumes but that's not the end. We - and that includes those who were at the March in spirit - will teach, work on policy changes in our towns, have coffee with our friends who aren't awake yet to climate change, organise.

And in all that, we will recognise each other.



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Cars News and Reviews People's Climate March: so big, there was no end to it.- CARS NEWS AND REVIEWS

Posted by Carmella Ross on Monday

As my CelloPlayer was working on the sign that I was going to carry at the Climate March, we talked about how many people were expected to walk the March.

Being a geek, and never one to pass up a teaching moment, I pulled up a map of Central Park West where marchers were to collect. We set out to answer the question: if the organisers are expecting 100,000 people to show up for the march, would they fit in the space provided for the lineup?

We measured out the space between Columbus Circle (59th Street) and 86th Street - a little bit over 2km - and estimated the width of the street to be about 15 meters: So the total area to stand on was 30,000 square meters. Give or take a few thousand.

The math is straightforward: if you want to fit 100,000 people on that area, you need three people to stand on each square meter.

When we joined the march, a little before 11am, Central Park West was already pretty full. There were barricades separating the road from the sidewalk, making the collection area a little narrower than I had estimated, but not by much.

As time went on, and more people joined the lineup, the crowd got denser. Everybody was talking to everybody, which makes you stand closer to each other anyway, but then you look up and suddenly realise that yes, now we are standing with more than three people to a square meter. And still the crowd was getting denser. People remarked they were starting to feel claustrophobic.

The head of the march was to leave at 59th Street around 11.30am. So we waited for the movement to reach 72nd Street, where we were standing. And waited.

And waited.

People were breaking out their lunch boxes, offering goodies to their neighbours, and generally being an incredibly patient and good-natured crowd. There was word that the lineup was now stretching out to 89th Street.

A lone conspiracist suggested that "they" were holding up the start of the march, but couldn't offer any credible reasons. I countered with the positive alternative: that so many people showed up, they had to line up in the side streets. Who could tell? we were in the crowd, and couldn't see anything. There was a helicopter circling overhead but if they were taking images, nobody had enough bandwidth to download them.

But after the march, I came across this photo, reproduced here courtesy of the photographer Noah Friedman-Rudovsky. It shows how dense the crowd was. And how it was overflowing into 72nd Street. (I was standing right behind the yellow banner).

In the end, we didn't start moving until well over two hours after the official 11.30am starting time. The dense crowd started to shuffle forward, then to walk as we got more space, moving to the side as yet more people joined the march from more side streets.

We didn't really get into a stride until we rounded Columbus Circle and started walking along the south side of Central Park, to reach 6th Avenue. We stopped at an eatery for a very late lunch, and to rest our arms, unaccustomed to holding up a sign for hours. That's when we got the message that marchers were to disperse once we reached 42nd Street and 11th Avenue.

This was stunning: An enormous event had been planned at 11th Avenue between 34th amd 38th Streets: speeches, a ribbon tying ceremony, food, networking. All of that had been let go because it became clear that there was absolutely no way we could have fit in the space provided.

So there was no end to New York's Climate March. Which is fitting in a way, because the Climate March is really only the beginning of a lot of work we need to do, to turn our ship around, away from fossil fuels and toward a cleaner future.

When the final numbers came in, the tally stood at 400,000 marchers. Or four times more than expected. I'd say that's a statement. Because for every marcher, there were many who wanted to join the march, but couldn't. This really is what it was hoped to be: too big to ignore.

If you didn't make it to any of the marches, you can add your voice to the many that are calling on world leaders to take bold action on climate that will make a real difference. is collecting your signature here.


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Cars News and Reviews Climate Action for Families- CARS NEWS AND REVIEWS

Posted by Carmella Ross on Saturday

Want to get your family involved in action against climate change? Join the "families" section at the Climate March. After September 21, consider joining one of the organisations listed below.

Photo by Taro Taylor

1 Million Women

Climate Parents

Climate Mama

Cool Planet

For Our Grandchildren

Kids Climate Action Network

Kids vs Global Warming

Moms Clean Air Force

Mothers Out Front

Our Children's Trust

The Mothers Project

Finally, the Climate Mobilization relies on people's networks to spread the word, and encourage action on climate change. It is a movement where parents and families will naturally feel at home because networking is what parents do: at the daycare center, at playgrounds, at schools. Please consider it.

If you know of any other family oriented organisations working on climate change, please share in the comments!


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Cars News and Reviews Climate March: I'm Marching for my Mom- CARS NEWS AND REVIEWS

Posted by Carmella Ross

Of course, I'm marching for my children. Actually, I'm marching for all our children. And this is where my mom comes in.

For a number of years, my mom worked as a pediatrician in a tropical country. She worked with a doctor who ran his practice more like a charity clinic, and at public hospitals. She never had a private practice, which would have been the more lucrative option. But that's not why she became a doctor.

For a time, she lived in a tiny village where the village women would sometimes bring their sick children to her veranda: my mom always helped their children, without asking for payment. The next day those moms would be back to thank her, bringing half a dozen eggs, or a basket of vegetables: whatever they could spare. And a child on the mend.

My mom was that most dangerous kind of woman: a woman who acted out of her own deep convictions. She had become a pediatrician to help out children, and that's what she did, no matter the circumstances. During a cholera outbreak, she was at the hospital twenty hours a day. Being six months pregnant didn't stop her (my brother came out allright, so she must have taken good enough precautions).

Contrary to the custom to prescribe antibiotics at the first cough, then popular with doctors who were encouraged and rewarded by pharmaceutical companies, my mom used antibiotics as the last resort it should be, and on her own predicted the rise of bacterial resistance which is today becoming a quiet crisis.

She went her own way, my mom: because she had a clear vision of how she could make a difference.

So I'm going to the Climate March, and I'm marching for my mom, and all pediatricians like her. These doctors will be at the forefront of climate consequences: because children are more vulnerable to all sorts of threats, from extreme weather, to diseases, to climate-change induced disasters.

This is really the ultimate in social injustice: the fact that our children get to bear the brunt of climate change produced by us and our parents back for generations. Because carbon dioxide hangs around in the atmosphere for a thousand years.

It's young children that are affected most by extreme heat and extreme cold, the kind that is happening more often now. It's children whose health is most threatened by deep drought or fast flooding. In warm places flooding can lead to outbreaks of malaria, dysentery and other communicable diseases which affect children much more strongly than adults.

Insect-borne diseases are now migrating towards cooler latitudes: there is dengue fever in Japan, West Nile virus in California, Lyme disease in North Dakota. Concerned parents are starting to keep their children indoors. But children need to play outside, and not getting enough of that can lead to depression, weight gain, and a host of other problems. Not to mention a disconnect with nature, which is exactly what we don't need right now.

So pediatricians, more than any other kind of doctor, will be dealing with the consequences of climate change in their young patients. I'm marching for them. Heaven help them: they're the ones who need to help out my children, your children, everybody's children, when climate change hits their lives. From what I can see, there can't be anything more harrowing to a doctor than to lose a young patient.

And my mom? In this case, I believe she wouldn't say "Are you sure you want to do this?" (her gentle code for "That's a stupid idea, girl"). She'd tell me to be careful; after all, I've never gone on a march before. But I think she'd approve.



Come march with me: Sign up at's Climate March website, or join the Moms' Clean Air Force.

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Cars News and Reviews How will you travel to the Climate March?- CARS NEWS AND REVIEWS

Posted by Carmella Ross on Tuesday

So, Bill McKibben of has extended an open invitation for everyone to come to New York and march. The People's Climate March is intended to push world leaders convening at the climate summit two days later on 23 September, to get into gear and start doing something meaningful about our collective carbon emissions.

Here's a vexing question that comes up around the Climate March: aren't marchers expending large amounts of carbon emissions to get to New York?

In a word: yes. (I'm not into denial).

I consider those emissions a good investment. The impact of this march on future emissions reductions could be huge.

However, we can still work to minimise the emissions on our travel to the climate march, and there are a few suggestions to do that. Although it is a little late to start walking across the continent like the heroes of the Climate March for Action are doing.

1. Find a Climate March near you.

You don't necessarily have to come to New York. Marches are being organised on all continents: find the one nearest you on's global maps of events. They make it very easy to organise one.

2. Get on the wagon.

The organisers of the People's Climate March have made it really easy for you to find (or organise!) a bus or train specifically chartered to get marchers to New York.

3. Rideshare.

If you are within driving distance, you can invite some friends who will share the drive, the cost and the good times with you. There is also a bulletin board where you can offer or find rideshares, the electronic equivalent of the travel bureaus that put Jack Kerouac on the road.

If you're wondering which is the option with the lowest carbon emissions, here is a chart I put together comparing the carbon emissions per passenger-kilometer for various travel modes. The details (e.g. how I got the numbers) are in this post on Thanksgiving travel.

I'm inviting friends to go march with me. How we go depends on who is going, and where they all live. For this one, I think it's more important that we go, than that we argue over the last pound of carbon. We'll hash out a way to get there, together.

Still not sure whether or not you should go? Try watching this:



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Cars News and Reviews VW Golf TDI: 52 mpg - CARS NEWS AND REVIEWS

Posted by Carmella Ross on Thursday

Road trip, mostly highway, for the beginning of the school year. That tank really could hold enough for 600 miles. My brave diesel Golf did 52mpg on the highway. Not a hybrid!

I just needed to brag record that.

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