Why I Stopped Protesting and Started a Garden

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Ron Finley, Guerrilla Gardener in South Central LA. “Certain gardens are described as retreats when they are really attacks.” — Ian Hamilton Finlay I quit protesting and started a garden. It sounds absurd at first, I know. But bear with me. I first woke up to the threat of climate change in 2014 (I was a late bloomer), when 350.org was organizing the first People’s Climate March in New York City. Around that time, I started writing about environmental issues and then joining—and later organizing—protests. It was exhilarating. It felt empowering. I experienced for the first time in my life the potential of masses of people organized for a common cause. Harvard political scientist, Erica Chenoweth , has concluded that as little as 3.5% of a population participating in nonviolent protest can effect political change. I was excited to be a part of that transformative minority. Mind you, I never expected protesting, by itself, to change the world. Rather, I saw mass events as opportunities to raise energy and build solidarity, especially among those who participated, but also among those who witnessed from afar. When people would ask me if I thought events like the People’s Climate March “accomplished […]

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