Smell is a powerful connecting force. Walking through the 300,000+ crowd at the People’s Climate March in New York City this past Sunday, September 21st, I was comforted to smell the familiar scent of burning tree sap. The familiarity was quite jarring amidst the blinking displays and towering bank buildings of Manhattan, however, it seemed fitting as the incense is to connect and remind us at rituals around the world, including those I have been fortunate to be part of in indigenous communities in Belize and Guatemala. Our group settled in to march the many remaining blocks in the wake of the familiar smell and in solidarity with the group dancing and marching to remind us of the immediate and devastating effects of climate change on indigenous communities, who are frequently intimately connected to their natural resources for their daily livelihoods. The diversity of people and causes that fell under the climate change umbrella were inspiring and, while bemusing at first, made good sense given the broad, systemic causes and effects that feed climate change. A sensory experience, a collective consciousness and a high-profile platform, the climate march left me hopeful that it left more behind much more than the piles of plastic trash on the street corners.
Kristina Baines is our resident cool anthropologist. She’s been formally trained in applied, sociocultural, ecological and medical anthropology at Florida Atlantic University (BA, MA), the University of Oxford (MSc) and the University of South Florida (PhD). She has a strong interest in corn, how what we do in our environment makes us well, and using innovative methods to make anthropology relevant and accessible to a wide audience. You can find out more about how these interests translate into projects and pursuits by perusing the rest of our site, or you can contact her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org