My name is Joy Gurrie. I am a mother and grandmother living in Ipswich. I retired from MIT’s Linear Accelerator Center in Middleton where I did computer-aided design. I had no plans for my retirement other than to pursue my interest in art and spend time with family.
I don’t remember what drew me to the People's Climate March in New York City in 2014. I had read that the organizers were hoping for 50,000 people to attend. 400,000 people showed up. The line of marchers on Central Park West was two miles long. A friend and I walked the length of it and I was in awe of the number of different groups and organizations that were there. Labor unions, physicians, religious groups, scientists…I even saw a sign that said “Grandmothers Against Climate Change”. So many people were represented. I remembered reading that they were going to have a moment of silence for the indigenous peoples and other front line communities most affected by the climate crisis. I was pressed in by the crowd, standing shoulder to shoulder with people chanting and bands playing. And then, from downtown, it got quieter and quieter and suddenly… I was standing in silence. It lasted a moment before traveling uptown. The crowd roared. In that moment of silence I felt my heart breaking open with love for this planet and its people, for all life on Earth. I was in a sea of humanity that wanted nothing more than clean water, air and soil, and nothing less than a complete change of our social and economic systems.
The March was organized by Bill McKibben, the founder of 350.org, a global, grassroots climate justice organization. When I got home from New York, I found an organization called 350 Mass, a statewide climate organization. They were just starting a chapter on the North Shore, where I live. I went to the first meeting, knowing very little about the climate crisis but wanting to make a difference.
Since then I’ve marched and protested. I’ve written letters and called on politicians to support legislation that protects the environment and encourages renewable energy. Most days it feels like nobody is listening. When I learned that some friends were planning a hunger strike and were asking for support, I didn’t hesitate to join them. I’m 70 years old and in good health. My reason for joining was simply that, as a privileged white person living in America, I CAN.
I can fast to stop an environmentally destructive and unnecessary oil and gas power plant from being built in Peabody;
I can fast to call on Governor Baker and Secretary Theoharides to conduct climate impact studies for the Peabody Power Plant;
I can fast to call for a complete end to the mining and burning of fossil fuels;
I can fast for a chance that future generations will inhabit a healthy and vibrant planet.
My 13 year old granddaughter loves dolphins and skiing. I want her future to include healthy oceans and snow covered mountains.
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