A Polar Bear Plunge to Combat Climate Change

CCAN staffers hacking up the river ice, so that we plungers could enter the water!

    I had quite an experience last Saturday, and I feel great about it.

     Along with about 150 fellow climate activists, I took a BRACING plunge into the Potomac River, just south of Washington, DC.  And while my whole body said ‘no!’, my walk out into the icy river was well worth it.

      We ‘plungers’ undertook this insane act in order to raise money for the Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN).  CCAN works in a variety of ways throughout Virginia, Maryland, and DC to combat climate change.  And every January, CCAN calls on its supporters to participate in its annual Keep Winter Cold (looks like we’ve done a pretty good job of that this year!) Polar Bear Plunge.  Each of us ‘plungers’ invited friends and family members to support our plunge by making a financial donation to CCAN.

     So during the month of January, I invited many of the people in my life to support my plunge with a donation to CCAN, and I am gratified by the response.  I thought perhaps I had set myself too ambitious a fundraising goal–$2,500.  But, in fact, I ended up raising  more than $3,000 for CCAN!  It’s heartening to me that so many people feel strongly enough about the need to tackle climate change that they were willing to support  CCAN’s work financially.  And CCAN surpassed its overall goal of $65,000 by more than $6,000!  

     I think a Polar Bear Plunge is a brilliant fundraising strategy.  If I had asked individuals to make a donation to CCAN simply because it’s an effective organization, I doubt my request would have gotten much notice.  But when I told people I was planning to plunge out into the Potomac River in January, that made an impression!  People notice insanity, it seems.  

     Although this was my third CCAN Polar Bear Plunge, I still felt nervous beforehand.  Fortunately, my dear friend Diane Loomis accompanied me, as she had with both of my previous plunges.  Diane came with me into the changing tent, helped me keep track of my things, took photos, and helped me stay reasonably calm as I anticipated facing that icy water. 

      Unlike in years past, there was so much ice on the river last Saturday that event organizers had to arrive early to deal with it.  Wearing wetsuits and wielding pick axes, they hacked away at the ice to create a ‘pathway’ so that we ‘plungers’ would be able to make our way out into the river! 

    The pre-plunge rally was, thankfully, brief, but inspiring.  Rev. Lennox Yearwood reminded us that while the Civil Rights Movement had been important in addressing equality, humanity is now in an even more serious fight–for survival, for a livable planet for our children.  

The plunge was brief.  And we all made it out alive.  Once we were dry and dressed, we all had fun celebrating at a nearby restaurant.  

Thank you, CCAN, and I hope to be there again next year.–April Moore   (photo below by my friend Ira Shorr)

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2 Responses to “A Polar Bear Plunge to Combat Climate Change”

  1. James Says:

    The bathing suit is a darker shade of blue this year and there are more chunks of ice.

  2. Maggie Says:

    Way to go, April! Bravo!

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