At 7:30 am on a quiet Sunday morning in Philadelphia (September 21st), Philly’s climate activists were already out in full force. Five busloads of Philadelphians were gearing up to head to New York City for the People’s Climate March. The goal: to sound the alarm on environmental inaction and to motivate the world to make a change.
The march was motivated by the climate summit being held later that week in NYC, with Heads of State gathering at the United Nations (starting September 23rd) for the largest climate summit to date. Buses of activists arrived throughout last week in anticipation of Sunday’s climate march. Activists from all over the country came together to show their support and to march for “Climate Justice”. In addition to the main march in New York, over 2700 other events were simultaneously held in 150 other countries.
Philly natives came out in great number to call for change. Locally the push has been led by organizations such as the Sierra Club and 305 Philly. These two environmental action organizations helped bring hundreds of activists to the march. Once in New York City it was clear the support was overwhelming. Estimates placed the number of people marching at just over 400,000; more than four times the amount that was originally expected. An incredible diversity of protesters came out and represented a wide range of causes.
People from all walks of life marched to call for change. Walking amongst the crowd, the cries for climate justice were unmistakable. Rally calls such as “No denial, no more lies, clean our water, clean our skies” could be heard all along the two mile route. The more extreme activist groups made claims that only the end of capitalism could save our planet. However, the majority of the crowd stayed positive and signs promoting clean energy and the end of fossil fuel usage could be seen throughout the sea of protesters. When speaking with the marchers there was a unifying drive to see our world leaders take a strong stance and make positive policy changes when it comes to the future of our planet.
This historic march set a high standard for the upcoming climate summit. People are worried about the future of our country and of our planet. “A change needs to happen now…” Catherine Collins, a college student from Vermont, told us, “…there is no Planet B.”
[Article and photos by James P. Cunneen]
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