Thursday, June 9, 2016

Caminata Ecológica - Ecological March 2016


We arrived in Parque Cuscatlán before the crowds.  St. Francis was there to greet us.  We met Friar Domingo and a few other coordinators.  Later we would realize that these folks were dynamic, energetic, gifted speakers.  Little by little small groups of people arrived.  Many carried posters.  Solidarity t-shirts were the uniform of the day:  ACT Alliance, Water Forum, No to Agri-Toxins, No to Mining.  If you didn't have an eco-t-shirt to wear, you pulled out your all-occasion-marching Oscar Romero shirt.  You can't go wrong bringing the Monseñor to a march of the people.

June 2, 2016 marked the 16th annual Ecological March from San Salvador's central park to the Legislative Assembly.  The theme:  Love The Planet!  Small groups from Lutheran Church communities arrived, and the turn-out from the pastoral corps was impressive.  The Salvadoran Lutheran Church folks all marched together, and with a string of bright blue water jugs and a giant painting of Jesus holding the world in his hands, the Lutherans attracted a large number of photographers and videographers from the press.




We walked for 1.5 hours in the sun.  Most impressive were the moms who marched with little children, many who walked the entire distance!  Pick-up trucks with huge speakers blasted eco-themed music as the procession of about 2000 people halted traffic on some of San Salvador's main thoroughfares.  Every now and then, one of the priests from the Catholic Church got on the loud speaker and started leading chants.  

  • Without water there is no life.
  • Let's love the planet; let's defend the water.
  • The struggle for life began by defending water and food.
  • To have water and food, we began the struggle for life.
  • Fight for life and defend water and food.
  • To defend the water and food is the fight for life.
  • Against all forms of contamination and mining - Love the planet!
  • Alert!  Fight for water and the planet - if not today, when?
  • Love our mother earth, fight for water and food.

  • Protect life, fight for water and food.
  • To destroy forests, contaminate the rivers is an attack against life.
  • The water and life are not negotiable.

  • Love the planet, defend the water and what feeds us.
  • The water and life are at risk, let's care for the planet.
  • The water and life are not negotiable, let's fight.

  • Fight for the planet, save the water and the life. 
  • Love the planet, defend the water and the life!
  • Love the planet, defend the water that is life!

  • It is a right to have food and water free from agro-toxins, to defend her (the planet) is a must!

The march concluded at the Legislative Assembly gates, and a couple of deputies did come out to speak at the press conference.  Environmental activists have been working to get a water protection law passed for ten years.  Every year there are promises.  This year, the promises continued, as did commitments to raise the minimum wage for agricultural workers and work to protect indigenous seeds.  Hopefully this will be the year when the marching, the press conferences, the photo-ops and the praying will lead to concrete legislative action and positive impacts on El Salvador's fragile environment.

Note:  The bullet points in this posting came from a handout which was distributed prior to the march

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