So apparently this is happening this coming Saturday. As with last Saturday's March for Science, Houston will be one of many cities taking part in the Circles of Resistance Climate March. Unlike the Science March, I don't foresee this week's event going mobile. There just isn't a place nearby to march to.
UPDATE: Organizer Stefania Thomas has posted on the message board referenced below that "...there will be a march in the area as well as an awesome rally with great speakers and live music." I'll take that.
As of this moment, 48 hours before it starts, the Climate March will take place at Clinton Park, just outside Loop 610 in the northeastern quadrant, near the Port of Houston. The location was changed from Charles H. Milby Park, just outside the Loop in the southeastern quadrant. Before that, the plan was to hold it in Hartman Park, also southeast of the Loop, in the Manchester district within sight of the Valero refinery.
I'm not the only climate-concerned individual in these parts who's a bit flummoxed by the changes in venue. Other participants have expressed exasperation over them on the Facebook event and on a message board. Since Manchester is the focus of T.E.J.A.S. and its Toxic Tours, I was all in favor of holding a march and rally there. These protests can't always take place in the more affluent parts of town; gathering in frontline communities makes it easier to unite with the people most directly affected by refineries and chemical plants. Plus, it will benefit folks from the Heights, Greater Montrose, West U, Bellaire, etc., to see where and how their fellow Houstonites live along Refinery Row.
The Manchester neighborhood is accessible by Metro, too, which is why I thought the first move to Milby Park was a bad idea. The closest a bus gets to that park is 1.3 miles (two kilometers). It might have been interesting for the march to proceed on the shoulder of Old Galveston Road (State Highway 3) from Broadway or Park Place to the park.
Accessibility was not the issue that led the organizers to switch to Clinton Park: Somewhere in all the correspondence about the march, I read a vague reference to problems with permits.
None of the information I have seen so far even mentions a destination for marching. It would be possible to walk with our signs and banners through the Clinton Park neighborhood, I suppose. We could walk toward the Gate of the Port of Houston, which like the refineries contributes to absurdly high incidence of asthma in that part of town, but isn't quite the climate villain that the fossil fuel companies are.
Speakers will preach to the choir as usual. People will get to admire each other's clever signs. I just don't see it reaching much of its intended audience. There will be a march through the neighborhood (see the update above), but let's hope that Clinton Park residents know that we are marching for them, that they will grasp the connection between climate concerns and the air they breathe every day.
As of now, on the Facebook event page, just over 200 people say they're Going, 500 Interested. That's a far cry from the Science March, which even the Chronicle estimated to have drawn 10,000 participants.
All this leaves me with low expectations—which is fine. While the Science March disappointed me with its series of empty speeches, I look forward to being pleasantly surprised when the Climate March kicks more ass than I envision.
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