This is the Maine Voices OpEd published in the Portland Press Herald the day before the first anniversary of the death of my son, Mark Baumer.
Mark Baumer’s life and final walk offers all of us an example and a model of how to live our lives in the midst of a crumbling nation, led by a president intent on imposing authoritarian rule. Our own state has a governor who along with our president thinks it’s 1950 and that oil and gas is the energy plan for the future. Mark mentioned leaders like these, who seek “profit as the world burns.”
Mark didn’t have a “woe is me” mindset. On his final walk, he had to push through pain, dealing with cold (in Ohio), and a host of other challenges. Yet, he got up every morning for 101 days and showed us a way forward. If not for the actions of a driver in Florida, I have no doubt Mark would have finished this epic walk. He left behind videos, blog posts, and poems from his trip. Better, I think he provides a way for us to #resist, one where small acts add up to something much greater.
While Mark didn’t see what he was doing as heroic, anyone who isn’t wearing ideological blinders, or lacking a heart should admire the way he lived his life with honesty and compassion. He was a one-of-a-kind young man and we are missing him the day before the one-year anniversary of his death.
For more information about Mark, visit the website for the Mark Baumer Sustainability Fund, the foundation we’ve launched to honor his poetic passion for Earth, and to create a world built on love, kindness, and ensuring a better and more equitable world for all people.