I drove my gas-guzzling Dodge Dakota to the 350.org virtual march for climate action in Kansas City. Why? Because I must think I do enough for the environment already.
It turns out there is always more to do.
On the way I stopped at the Waldo water tower (I never knew it was called that) and Holmes Park, close to my first house. I walked to the roller hockey rink and wondered which home belonged to the family that also had a daughter named Beth and gave me my first cat. I still remember rushing past her to get to the kitten. Naturally, she was offended.
Near these trees was a teeter-totter. I fell off it once and bonked my head. Perhaps that’s why it was removed and replaced with poles for a volleyball net? The synagogue down Holmes is now an academy; the Jewish Community Center where I learned to swim is Paul Robeson Middle School; and J. C. Nichols, where I went to elementary school for one year, is the Academie Lafayette, a French-language immersion school.
And the Plaza, where the 350 event took place by the J. C. Nichols Memorial Fountain, is also changed, but more on that some other day.
At first I was unimpressed by the number of people at this Kansas City gathering (100? 200?), but when Missouri senator Jolie Justice noted that Missouri is last in the nation for energy efficiency and clean energy, I decided I was being too harsh. Still, there were as many people in Kazakhstan as in Kansas City. There were even 3 pictures from Mongolia. And 1 or 2 from Afghanistan.
Jeez. I have to pause to cry here. With hope. Here’s my favorite picture from the 350.org site.
Students from the KC Art Institute painted this sign, and the Quakers loaned their generator. Why does that amuse me?
The organizer annoyed me at times, but then he handed me this gem: “Our history books say almost nothing about how ordinary people have changed the world.”
Perhaps ordinary people should have emptied this trash can.
Many ordinary Kansas Citians have pledged “Five Green Things,” so I did too, even if I don’t live here any more.
As we marched down the Plaza, the “symbolic heart of capitalism in Kansas City,” I dropped out at LatteLand, after about 2 blocks. If it’s any comfort to you, I asked for a china cup and then sat in this booth. Or interrogation room. I’m not sure which. The latte, made with rosemary steeped in caramel, had a delicate herbal flavor.
I stayed there for a while and then went to Barnes and Noble to read magazines for free, because that way someone else can reuse them, not because I’m too cheap to buy People.
Finally the reason for all this waiting and reading began: WaterFire, a fall celebration on Brush Creek in Kansas City. The night was warm and dry: the opera singer made me wish I would have brought my father, though how he would have got through the crowd I don’t know; and everything was peaceful.
And then I drove home.