OU senior Benjamin Bushwick is going coast to coast for climate change action. The nearly 3,000-mile odyssey he’s participating in, organizers say, will be the largest march of its kind in American history.
The Great March for Climate Action is set to begin next March 1 in Los Angeles. At a pace of 15 miles per day, the group of 1,000 marchers hope to reach Washington D.C. by November.
“The movement to combat the climate crisis has grown immensely,” said Bushwick, a senior psychology student. “This event is largely spiritual.”
Bushwick has some experience in the literal interpretation of marathon political movements. Earlier this year, he marched from Camp David, Md., to Washington D.C. as part of the “Walk for Our Children,” a 74-mile trek. Inspired and not the least bit tired, Bushwick set out for something larger.
“I felt like I could walk another 3,000 miles,” he said.
Intended as an awareness-raising effort for the issue of climate change, the march will span nearly 250 days, but Bushwick says the journey has already begun. Bushwick is raising money to help finance his cross-continental journey and by doing so, is reaching out to friends and family and trying to spread information about what he describes as a complicated issue.
“It’s a lot more wide-ranging than ‘saving the trees,’” he said. “There are a lot more socio-political factors.”
Among them is the issue of fossil fuel consumption, which Bushwick said he wants to curtail. He concedes the importance of that industry on regional economies, however, and said he understands the impact simply arguing to remove those sources of energy could entail.
Living in Athens, Bushwick said the “fertile political ground” has helped foster his desire to take a more hands-on approach to activism. He is among hundreds of activists from throughout the country who have signed up to participate in the march.
“The diversity of individuals who have signed up to march is impressive,” said Marcher Director Zach Heffernen, in a press release. “They range in age from 2-82 and originate from all across the United States and North America.”
Followers will be able to track progress of the event through updates after the march begins next year, Bushwick said, but for now his efforts are on raising both awareness and enough money to make his journey possible.
“It’s really a beautiful thing,” he said of his involvement. “I want to use that leverage to demand action and respect toward this issue.”