Climate Walk for change: Nana Greta’s walk for climate change awareness: For all the grandchildren

Published 12:27 am Sunday, March 22, 2009

Climate Walk for change: Nana Greta’s walk for climate change awareness: For all the grandchildren

For those of us who don’t usually see too many people walking along our sidewalkless streets, red flags went up and sirens went off last Monday when we noticed a sweet “grandmotherly” type woman walking solo up U.S. Highway 11 through Picayune, Carriere and even McNeill. Though there was no real cause for alarm, Greta Browne, our walker, was very pleased that people sat up and took notice — after all, she’s walking with a message.

Hailing from Bethlehem, Penn., Browne is a self-proclaimed “amateur environmentalist,” who decided, after reading “Six Degrees” by Mark Lynas — a book about the dangerous effects of rapid global warming on the earth — she cannot go on with life as normal for the sake of her three grandchildren — and all the grandchildren.

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“I thought what a world we’re leaving to our grandchildren and it upset me very much,” said Browne. “I can’t just go on with life as usual, I have to do something really radically different.” That’s when she decided she would walk for the cause.

“For all the grandchildren — A Climate Change Pilgrimage” is Browne’s personal cause. She is essentially “walking” a path which took her initially to Galveston, Texas. Then she followed the coastline, as best she could, to just east of New Orleans to get to the beginning of Highway 11 (or Route 11 as it will later become on her journey) which she will now follow all the way to Rouses Point, N.Y. (the Canadian border) “to make this world safe for our grandchildren.” Browne is using the long walk as a meditation, a prayer and a platform to bring awareness to the issues of global warming and climate changes.

Browne’s plan is to walk 12-15 miles per day, and then rest in her “Gypsy Wagon,” a small 1982 TranStar motor home. For now, all alone on her journey — despite the protests of a few family members — Browne is having to walk a couple of miles, turn around and head back to her van, and then actually drive up to the point where she completed her foot progress. Though she realizes her driving is a huge contradiction to her mission, she said she just could not figure out any other way to get the job done.

“I love cars. America has a love affair with cars — the whole world loves cars, all of us,” she said. “But we’re creating these carbon dioxide emissions that are just increasing and increasing and increasing… the planet can’t take it, it’s too much carbon dioxide.”

Driving along the coast from Galveston, Texas, till she reached New Orleans to start the actual pilgrimage, Browne used that leg of her trip to put a spotlight on vulnerable coastal areas. “That’s a prototype of all the delta coastlines around the world that are threatened right now by the surging water and rising ocean.” Her main concerns are all the people, such as the very old, the very young, the poor and all the creatures that live in these areas around the world that resemble our southern Gulf Coast coastline who don’t have the resources to save themselves.

Browne’s husband, Guy Gray, who very much supports her in her cause, started the journey with her but had to return to his work at a university. He left on Sunday, March 15 on a train from Slidell, La., bound for Philadelphia, Penn. Because Browne is alone, she hopes that people will join her on her mission. “I could use a driver, I could use people who would like to walk with me, but it won’t stop me. I’ll just keep going. If I have to do it that way, that’s fine.”

To spread the word about her cause, Browne carries informational pamphlets to hand out along the way and she started her own Web site and blog for those who wish to track her progress. She even has a special children’s blog she started with the help of her daughter who teachers third grade in a Boston area school.

She is proud to already have 13 followers on her blog. “People do leave comments, sometimes people I don’t even know. So I’m hoping it will build.” She knows going public may open her up to people who want to attack her position. “I’m not a scientist. I’m not an expert. I don’t really want to defend anything too much,” she said. Browne really hopes that people will use the forum to share personal stories and ideas they’ve come up with to help “conserve and preserve.”

As she travels through other small towns, such as Picayune where people don’t often walk, she hopes other eyebrows will raise. “Not being able to walk, not having public transportation, having everybody having to have a car is part of the problem,” she explained. “So if I can just have people ask a couple of questions or just be a little bit aware, I would actually appreciate that.” She hopes her footprints will make us all more aware of the “footprints” we are leaving on this earth for our children and our children’s children.

For those who wish to follow along on Browne’s progress, visit, or to read her blogs visit