By Lynne Iser
As a baby boomer, I've been around long enough to see plenty of changes. I've watched as America has progressed from a manufacturing powerhouse to a technological marvel. From the victories of the civil rights movement to the end of the Cold War to the growth of the Internet - one thing that every major transformation has in common is strong leadership supported by a vocal public.
We are now poised for another major transformation that is only possible with the right combination of both leadership and public input. That's why I'm so excited about the upcoming People's Climate March.
On Sept. 21, thousands of people from all walks of life are expected to come together to march in the streets of New York City. The goal is to make it plain that now is the time for strong leadership to respond to climate change. With the U.N. Summit on Climate Change scheduled to begin two days later, the march is the perfect opportunity for our leaders to show they've heard our call.
During the summit, President Obama will join other world leaders in order to start planning for our future - and the world our children and grandchildren will live in. Specifically, they will be discussing how we, as a global community, can best come together to fight climate change.
While this summit may not be the kind of news event that the 24/7 media seem to obsess over, it is nonetheless extremely important. This is a foundational, walk-before-you-run-type gathering that always predates the big flashy ribbon-cutting ceremony many confuse for leadership.
Leaders do not only build movements; they are also built by movements. And true leaders do not only sign their names to an accomplishment, but will do the unglamorous and sometimes perilous work that is required to get things done.
In every big shift, there are strong leaders. But what gives them their strength is the will of the people. Time and again we have seen that the only clear way to send a message to our leaders is with our feet. Hitting the streets isn't the only way to build political will, but it's easily the most effective. Polls, slogans, and promises pale in comparison to thousands of Americans filling the streets demanding action. When thousands of protesters make a call for action, leaders can't help but listen.
This issue is incredibly important to me. As a person with 64 years of life experience, I hear the concerns about climate disruption from young people who are worried about their lives and their future. I feel grateful for all that this world has given me and want to be sure that we offer to future generations a thriving world to sustain their lives.
Now is the time to end our fossil-fuel addiction and usher in a clean new economy, powered by human ingenuity and stewardship of the Earth and its resources. At this critical juncture, we need our leaders to step up. So we're stepping out and marching in the streets. We hope the sound of thousands will be enough to compel our public officials to strengthen their backbones and inspire them to become the strong and visionary leaders we need.
We will march on Sept. 21 to show we care, and the summit is the perfect opportunity for our leaders to show that they've been listening. Join us in New York City for the People's Climate March and add your voice to the thousands of others who will call on our leaders to do the right thing.