Hadley Greswold, former NRDC intern, recent graduate of the University of Southern California, and impassioned advocate for the planet, animals, and humans, created a hand sign for climate action she hopes to make as ubiquitous as the peace sign.
The origins of the peace sign are a little surprising: Although a variety of peace symbols, like the olive branch and the dove, have existed since antiquity, the V hand symbol first appeared in victory parades after World War II. Anti-Vietnam protesters adopted the hand sign during the late 1960s. But in both cases, the goal was to convey a desire for peace, for the end of war.
Maybe that’s just what we need to spark global climate action: a symbol that shows we’re united in the mission to protect every person, every place, and everything we love. To protect our home, Planet Earth.
I asked Hadley a few questions about why she’s motivated to start this movement right now, and how she plans to take it global.
What made you believe that we needed a hand sign for climate action? From the day I was born, I’ve been told the world is in crisis. Climate change, ocean acidification, extreme weather: This is heavy stuff to grow up with. It’s no wonder millennials like myself often feel overwhelmed and powerless to influence our future. The inspiration for a climate sign came out of a need for collective empowerment. When we work together with our friends and peers on overwhelming issues, they become less daunting.
After the People’s Climate March in September of 2015, Frances Beinecke, former president of NRDC, emphasized the need for a unifying symbol that all of the diverse groups at the march could use to exemplify their collective drive for climate action.
How did you land on a hand sign? Individuals around the globe contributed their ideas. The climate sign was selected through a collaborative process powered by a team of millennial volunteers.
What’s your plan to make it catch on? The climate sign resonates with
people of all generations because it is easily accessible, unifying, positive, and universal. It has already been used at climate events, college campus climate initiatives, organizational meetings, farmers’ market gatherings, nature museums, and other public venues. Furthermore, people are sharing climate sign photos on social media under the #ClimateSign hashtag to unite for climate action.
What’s the plan for disseminating it in Paris? The climate sign will be projected on the Eiffel Tower as part of the incredible Human Energy art exhibition taking place during the 2015 U.N. climate talks. Climate sign photo booths will be accessible to the public so that anyone visiting the tower can take an iconic climate sign photo during this historic time. Leaders from around the globe including members of the United Nations, presidents, mayors, and other public figures like actors and musicians will be visiting the venue, and we hope they will raise the climate sign to demonstrate their unity for climate action. The 2015 U.N. climate talks will have an immense impact on our shared future, and it is more important than ever that people around the world come together to advocate for climate action. The climate sign is a simple tool to demonstrate this unity.
Thanks for chatting with me, Hadley!
Learn more about the climate sign at climatesign.org and join the movement on its Facebook page, through Twitter, and on Instagram. Share your climate sign photo today with the hashtag #ClimateSign to unite for climate action!
One of many well attended solidarity events for the stoppage of the Keystone XL Pipeline, indigenous sovereignty and justice against profit-driven climate devastation in general happened today in Denver. February 17, 2013
Hundreds (600, maybe - it was hard to get an accurate count but I heard many people mention how it was the largest action that they had seen in Denver) came out to express solidarity in Denver for the massive protests in DC and a climate-conscious uprising across the world against profit-driven climate disasters. We will stop the pipeline.
The people laying down are making a ‘human oil spill’. Great turn out - there was a huge IdleNoMore contingent in the march, and by far they contributed the best talks at the rally. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any not-blurry pictures of them; I bet they are on the 350.org photo stream.
remember this summer, when climate activists protested the keystone XL pipeline in front of the white house? they got themselves arrested in civil disobedience (for protesting in front of the white house?!?) to prevent the ‘game over for the climate.’
on nov 6, more than 10,000 protesters came back and circled the white house to demand an end to the pipeline. and this massive public pressure finally resulted in a victory!! last night i got an e-mail, that the decision was delayed, effectively killing the project!
this is a spectacular victory, because it seemed so unlikely: it was expected that this would pass easily, not a lot of people outside of the affected areas knew about this project, and the protest came amidst a news media dominated by the financial markets. this is a great victory, and should be a huge motivator to continue fighting the good fight!