We didn’t march in today’s climate march, but for different reasons than you might think.
In the past 24 hours some have written posts asking people not to attend this year’s climate marches. Michael Shellenberger correctly pointed out the hypocrisy of some of those in the climate movement for dedicating themselves to carbon reductions, while actively campaigning against our largest source of carbon free power. Suzanne Hobbs Baker argued that while some objections to nuclear have merit, climate is not one of them, and excluding passionate pro-nuclear environmentalists is misguided.
But the subtext to both articles is this: if others don’t agree with us, we shouldn’t engage with them. This reminds me of the people that throw up their hands in disgust every two years and say, “They’re all a bunch of crooks, so hell no, I won’t vote.” I think it’s pretty clear by now that non-participation from the moderates has only served to embolden the extremes. And those in power certainly don’t see low voter turnout as some indictment on our democracy that must be remedied immediately. So boycotting the climate march on principle? To what end?
So why isn’t Generation Atomic marching?
Because we’re taking different steps to protect and grow nuclear energy-- literally. We’re on the ground in Ohio as I type this, talking to scores of people every day about the importance of their nuclear plants for their local communities, school funding, and a clean environment. In only a week we have sent over 150 handwritten postcards from regular people to their state legislators, asking them to pass key legislation to save their two nuclear plants from early shutdown. We’re finding that in these communities nearly 70% of the people we talk to are signing down in support of nuclear power-- even if initially they have objections.
Last week Generation Atomic did march in the March for Science. Not to endorse the march organizers or famously anti-nuclear guest speakers like Bill Nye, but to meet the march goers where they’re at, and bring them along with us.
If we don’t reach out to our potential allies, who will?
If you were thinking of representing nuclear at the March for Climate and saw Michael or Suzy’s post, I hope you went ahead and marched anyway. And if you did, thank you.
Eric Meyer and Tay Stevenson
Executive Director and Organizing Director