The People’s Climate March will surge through Manhattan on September 21 with an expected quarter million individuals in attendance. Times Square will be the site of the historic gathering as many will travel from across the country to support UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s ambitious goals to reduce global warming pollution.
The People’s Climate March will take place during a UN meeting on climate change attended by delegates from 168 countries.“The UN Secretary General has asked world leaders to finally make some real progress on climate change,” said Robert Orr, UN Assistant Secretary General. The UN conference, scheduled for September 23, will hail experts on the risks for not acting now. “Time is not on our side,” said Moon.
Organizers at 350.org have joined with over 490 groups, including unions, ecumenical groups, and grassroots organizations. The plan is an “all-inclusive family oriented event” for everyone, says Paul Getsos, National Coordinator with 350.org. “We want to engage a wide range of constituencies and communities,” he said.
Getting national coverage is the key to building on foundations already laid down by environmental groups. “We want to be in Times Square because there are huge media markets that look there,” said Getsos.
Organizers are meeting across the country to coordinate transportation from college campuses, neighborhoods and communities. There will be workshops and meetings in NYC the week leading up to the event.
A Global Issue
“Climate matters-it affects all people who want a healthy future,” said Alise Schuguin of DC Divest. “We can’t have a future without our world leaders acting on climate,” she said. Schuguin has worked to gain support in the DC Council to divest investments from the fossil fuel industry.
Climate change is already affecting everything and everybody, according to the Nature Conservancy. There are already effects to agriculture, healthcare, commerce, transportation, urban and country living, education, and food production.
Even the Department of Defense, the single largest consumer of energy and oil on the planet, is changing its base energy generation to “green solutions” to reduce fossil fuel use.
At the root of climate change is greenhouse gas emissions from energy production. Scientists have determined fossil fuels are the source of greenhouse gasses causing climate change, but the fossil fuel industry is very powerful-enough to buy and control the media narrative on energy production and climate change. “Scientists have been sounding the alarm about climate change for 25 years,” said Jessie Orr, Arts Trainer at 350.org. “The fossil fuel industry is the richest industry in history,” she said, “it’s that money that has allowed them to silence effective action on climate change.”
At stake is “humanity’s survival” involving every country, culture and all people, according to an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published in March 2014. Civilization will be challenged to cope as rising global temperatures melt polar ice and oceans flood coastal communities, displacing millions, according to the report.
Radical changes are needed now because climate change is impacting weather and the most visible results have been droughts in the West and South, and spurring super weather events nationwide. “It’s not something we can address over 20 to 30 years, it’s something we have to fix now,” said Getsos.
Gaining Broad Support
Two of the biggest unions in NY are supporting the event. The Blue-Green Alliance, a national partnership of labor unions and environmental organizations, has also joined. Event planners are also reaching out to a broad base of people and organizations. “It’s a march about people, not elected officials,” said Getsos, “this is a movement moment.”
For the schedule of events and transportation to the People’s Climate March click here.