The September 21 People’s Climate March in New York City has sent a clear call to the world’s leaders to take swift, verifiable steps to dramatically reverse the climate crisis. Participants representing thousands of groups from across the planet joined forces to mobilize people power for a concrete shift from the course of environmental destruction on the eve of the United Nation’s Climate Summit.
Campaign Nonviolence has been a PCM participating organization since the beginning, and helped organized the pre-rally, which CNV’s John Dear spoke at on Sunday morning.
This week, 235 plus Campaign Nonviolence actions will take place in all 50 states to reinforce the People’s Climate March’s message while also connecting the dots between environmental catastrophe, war and poverty.
September 21-27, Campaign Nonviolence will take action across the US and beyond to launch a long-term movement to build a culture of peace and nonviolence free from war, poverty, climate crisis and the epidemic of violence.
Here is the press release issued late Sunday from the People’s Climate march organizers:
Largest Global Call for Climate Action in History
Nearly 400,000 march in NY, events in over 150 countries
NEW YORK — Today, the world marched for climate action. From Manhattan to Melbourne, more than half a million people took to the streets in a unified global move to demand ambitious commitments from world leaders in tackling the climate crisis.
By end of day estimates, the flagship march in New York City drew approximately 400,000 people–more than quadrupling the pre-march estimates of 100,000–just two days before world leaders converge here for an emergency UN Climate Summit.
At 3:00pm, march organizers released an initial count of 310,000 people based on the crowd density along the march route, which stretched across Manhattan from 93rd Street and Central Park West to 34th Street and 11th Avenue. But as the day continued, reports came in of tens of thousands more protesters marching outside the official route, streaming down avenues in midtown Manhattan. At 5:00pm, march organizers had to send out a text asking marchers to disperse from the march route because the crowds had swelled beyond the routes capacity.
“We said it would take everyone to change everything — and everyone showed up,” said Eddie Bautista, Executive Director of the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance.
The New York march was led by indigenous and frontline communities who came from across the globe to highlight the disproportionate impact of climate change–from communities hit hardest by Superstorm Sandy to people living in the shadow of coal-fired power plants and oil refineries to those living in Island Nations already faced with evacuating their homes.
“The frontlines of the climate crisis are low-income people, communities of color and indigenous communities here in the US and around the globe. We are the hardest hit by both climate disruption––the storms, floods and droughts––as well as by the extractive, polluting and wasteful industries causing global warming,” said Cindy Wiesner, Co-Director of The Climate Justice Alliance. “We are also at the forefront of innovative community-led solutions that ensure a just transition off fossil fuels, and that support an economy good for both people and the planet.”
Once an issue seen as dividing environmentalists and labor, today’s march was also notable for the number of unions that joined the climate fight. Nearly every labor union in New York helped organize turnout for the march, including SEIU, the largest union in the city and the second largest in the country.
“Our members are marching because climate change affects all of us,” said Héctor Figueroa, president of 32BJ SEIU. “We live in the communities that get destroyed by storms like Sandy. We work in the buildings that get flooded. We get hit by health epidemics like asthma that are rampant in our communities, and we care about the world that we will leave for our children and grandchildren.”
Notable participants in today’s march also included:
UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio
Former Vice President Al Gore
Leonardo di Caprio
U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse
U.S. Senator Bernard Sanders
U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer
New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito
U.S. Representative for Minnesota, Keith Ellison
U.S. Representative for New York, Nydia Velázquez
U.S. Representative for New York, Jerrold Nadler
New York State Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman
Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Christiana Figueres
“Today, civil society acted at a scale that outdid even our own wildest expectations. Tomorrow, we expect our political leaders to do the same,” said May Boeve, Executive Director of 350.org.
The global day of climate action comes just two days before a UN Climate Summit, which is hosted by UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, and attended by more than 125 world leaders, including US President Barack Obama, French President Francois Hollande, South Korean President Park Geun-hye, and UK Prime Minister David Cameron. The summit is intended to kickstart a process that will end with significant agreement at next December’s global negotiations in Paris.
The organizing for The People’s Climate March required the coming together of 1574 groups in an effort akin to electoral campaigns. Just in the last week, 1,000,000 flyers were handed out across New York City. A total of 550 buses from nearly all 50 states flooded into Manhattan as well as two dedicated trains, one from DC and one from California. For the last month, 1 out of every 10 subway cars in the city also ran ads for the march.
Hi-res photos and B-Roll:
NOTE TO EDITORS:
 Global highlights include:
In Australia, 30,000 people took to the streets of Melbourne, while locals went on a 50 km beach march on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, and a 700 km march from Melbourne to Canberra. Over ten thousand more participated in events in over 100 other cities and regional towns.
More than 2,500 people from across India hit the streets of New Delhi on Saturday, making the march the nation’s strongest ever call for climate action.
In Tanzania, the Maasai marched across their traditional lands to call for action to protect their homelands in the Serengeti from the impacts of climate change. Simultaneous events also happened across Africa including Johannesburg,Togo, Niger, The Ivory Coast, and Benin as well as a march planned in Africa’s largest city Lagos, taking place on Monday.
In London, the bells of The Church of Londonrang out across the city as 40,000 people combined forces to create an historic march to the steps of Parliament.
In Paris, 25,000 people took part in the “Paris Marche pour le Climat,” with parades, marches, and bicycle rides across the bridges of the Seine.
On the US / Canada border, thousands of marchers from First Nations groups and local organisations will make the trip from Vancouver and Seattle to join hands in a truly international event, showing that “climate change knows no borders”.
In the Pacific Islands, from Tonga to Tuvalu to Tokelau, people rallied calling for Action, Not Words, to protect the Pacific Islands. In rural Papua New Guinea students from a primary school marched to a nearby lighthouse, which has recently become semi-submerged due to rising sea levels. Even as they marched, people all across the Pacific are also preparing to send 30 Pacific Climate Warriors with their canoes to block the world’s largest coal port in Australia in October.
In Istanbul, close to 3000 people marched through Istanbul’s Taksim Square, with impacted communities from across Turkey at the forefront.
In Berlin, over 10,000 people participated in three parallel marches which converged for a colourful festival at the Brandenburg Gate.
In Rio, thousands are marching on the beaches of Ipanema, after images were broadcast on the statue of Christ the Redeemer for the last week building up to the march.
In Jakarta, thousands of people marched to send an urgent demand to the newly elected President for a commitment to build an economy that is powered by renewable energy. Other events in Asia include Seoul, Taiwan, Manila among others.