Under leaden skies, throngs of demonstrators stretching as far as the eye could see started to move through Midtown Manhattan late Sunday morning, chanting their demands for action on climate change. With drums and tubas, banners and floats, the People's Climate March turned Columbus Circle, where the march began just before 11:30 a.m., into a colorful tableau. The demonstrators represented a broad coalition of ages, races, geographic locales and interests, with union members, religious leaders, scientists, politicians and students joining the procession.
“I’m here because I really feel that every major social movement in this country has come when people get together,” said Carol Sutton of Norwalk, Conn., the president of a teachers' union. “It begins in the streets.” With world leaders gathering at the United Nations on Tuesday for a climate summit, marchers said the timing was right for the populist message in support of limits on carbon emissions. The U.N. summit this week is expected to create a framework for a potential global agreement on emissions late next year in Paris.
The timing of the march was also significant in another regard. Last week, meteorologists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that this summer — the months of June, July and August — was the hottest on record for the globe, and that 2014 was on track to break the record for the hottest year, set in 2010. “Climate change is no longer an environmental issue; it’s an everybody issue,” Sam Barratt, a campaign director for the online advocacy group Avaaz, which helped plan the march, said on Friday.
“The number of natural disasters has increased and the science is so much more clear,” he added. “This march has many messages, but the one that we’re seeing and hearing is the call for a renewable revolution.” Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York, whose administration announced this weekend a sweeping plan to overhaul energy efficiency standards in all city-owned buildings, was among the high-profile participants expected to join the march, including the United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon; former Vice President Al Gore; the actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo; at least two United States senators; and one-third of the New York City Council.
Additionally, nearly 2,700 climate events were planned in more than 150 countries to coincide with the march, considered the centerpiece of the international protest.
Kemo D. 7