Waylanders Walk to Walden During International Day of Action

Residents of Wayland joined a massive global day of action Saturday to move beyond fossil fuels. The article below was supplied by Transition Wayland, who organized the Walk to Walden.

The article below was supplied by Transition Wayland.

On Saturday, Sept. 24, eight residents from Wayland started out from the parking lot on Concord Road to walk five-and-a-half miles to Walden Pond, to call for bold action on climate change.

Using their feet and one horse, they wanted to demonstrate that they are serious about moving past fossil fuels. They were not alone for long. Many joined them as they walked through Wayland, Lincoln and Concord. By the time the group arrived at its destination, it had grown to 20, and at Walden Pond the walkers found 25 more waiting, residents from Waltham to Ayer, Maynard to Lexington.

Among the first set of Wayland walkers was Kaat Vander Straeten, co-founder of Transition Wayland, which helped coordinate the Walk to Walden event.

“It is heartening to see so many here who get it, that we are entering a now-or-never time of action and that we must, each of us and together, act for the sake of a livable planet,” Vander Straeten said.

Also walking was Wen Stephenson, writer and member of Transition Wayland, who gave a rousing commentary on the relevance of Henry David Thoreau’s writings on the shore of the pond the Transcendentalist made famous. 

“I do not propose to write an ode to dejection, but to brag as lustily as chanticleer in the morning, standing on his roost, if only to wake my neighbors up,” Stephenson said, quoting a passage from Thoreau's work, "Walden."

“We hear you, Henry! You woke us up!" Stephenson added. "And if slavery was the human crisis of your time, global warming – and its impact on countless innocent lives – is the human crisis of our own. So here we are, on our way, together, at this moment, the present moment, to wake our neighbors up.”

One of Stephenson’s neighbors, Barbara Belote, who was at the pond with her husband, Tom, agreed.

“We need our government to stop the big polluters who want profits more than a habitable planet," Belote said. "But the rest of us need to do everything we can to slow down climate change.”

John Hanson Mitchell, editor of MassAudubon's Sanctuary magazine, followed Stephenson with a reading from Thoreau’s journals, choosing quotes about natural phenomena Thoreau observed in Septembers over several years. Thoreau’s recordings of frost on Walden Pond and the leaves turning rapidly were sobering to those gathered in the muggy 80-degree weather and surrounded by the lush greenery of Walden Pond.

After the readings, chanting slogans -- some tongue-in-cheek like “I’m with David Henry Thoreau! Fossil fuels have got to go!” -- the group moved on to the Concord train station.

There they joined yet more individuals to take the train into Boston, where they melded into the global Moving Planet rally, with more than 1,500 people voicing their demand that political leaders act on the basis of science and common sense to move the world past fossil fuels.

Boston was one of nearly 700 U.S. cities to take part in a Moving Planet, and the U.S. was only one of 180 countries to participate in this year’s Moving Planet day of action.

Moving Planet is spearheaded Bill McKibben, cofounder of 350.org, an international grassroots climate campaign organizing in more than 180 countries. 350.org is named for 350 parts per million (ppm), the safe upper limit of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Currently, the level is 392ppm.

“President Obama always said he would need pressure to help him move his agenda forward," McKibben has said about the growing movement. "We're doing more than signing petitions -- people in every corner of the country are showing the path ahead. This movement is only growing -- and, sadly, every weird storm and devastating drought will make it bigger still.”


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