The march will take place two days before a crucial UN climate meeting in the city, hosted by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, and attended by some 125 heads of state. The meeting is an important stepping stone to next year’s all-important crunch meeting in Paris.
The People’s Climate March has been endorsed by over 1,200 organizations, including the America’s largest environmental groups, labor unions, faith-based groups, and social justice groups. They will be joined by those fighting against the fossil fuel industry and for a cleaner future from many places around the world.
Marchers in New York will be split into six distinct themes, including those communities on the front line of climate change, such as indigenous communities battling the toxic tar sands in Canada.
“It’s time to stop negotiating, because whilst these governments haggle over our lives, Indigenous and People of Color on the frontlines are dying,” says Crystal Lameman, a member of the Beaver Lake Cree First Nation and Climate Campaigner with Sierra Club Alberta, who will be marching in Sunday. “We are here to take a stand. Enough is enough, we will not allow these governments to covet our air and our water. We are building a wall of defense and we are stopping tar sands at the source.”
Impacted communities from the Amazon will be in New York too and Amazon Watch is organising an event called “From the Heart of the Amazon: Ecuadorian Voices and Solutions: Youth and indigenous leaders speak out on climate change”, on Friday this week in New York for anyone interested. More details here.
The next theme for the march is “we know who is responsible”, which will include anti-fossil fuel activists including people fighting fracking and mountaintop removal. Oil Change International (OCI) will be there highlighting the issue of fossil fuel subsidies.
Steve Kretzmann, the Executive Director of OCI says: “A critical next step to fighting climate change is to stop making the problem worse. We have to stop funding fossils.”
Those concerned about climate change make up the next contingent: “The debate is over”, which will bring a diverse community together from those worried about the melting Arctic, to climate scientists and beekeepers.
The march is also about solutions, so three themes are “We build the future,” “we have the solutions” and to “change everything, it takes everyone.” And that is the message: we all have to tackle climate change – it is not someone else’s problem.
Events are not just planned in New York – there will be solidarity rallies and protests across the globe from South America to Europe. Some 1500 events are planned in some 130 countries. In London, tens of thousands of people will be attending: There will be giant carbon bubbles, carnival costumes as well as a BP Viking longship protesting against BP’s continuing funding of the arts.
As so many people – from young and old – protest on Sunday the message is simple: As the Peoples Climate March explains: “We’ll take to the streets to demand the world we know is within our reach: a world with an economy that works for people and the planet; a world safe from the ravages of climate change; a world with good jobs, clean air and water, and healthy communities.”
It is time, as they say, to take a stand to bend the course of history.