The People’s Climate

The People’s Climate March on September 21 was a watershed for the emerging global climate movement, with more than 400,000 people taking to the streets of New York City. But New York was only the tip of an iceberg, and popular pressure on governments to take credible action is unlikely to diminish.

BERLIN – The People’s Climate March on September 21 was a watershed for the emerging global climate movement, with more than 400,000 people taking to the streets of New York City. But New York was only the tip of an iceberg. People in 166 countries, from Argentina to Australia, participated in more than 2,800 events and rallies. Two million activists demanded through an online petition that governments shift to 100% clean energy. For the first time since the fated 2009 Copenhagen Climate Change Conference, virtual climate activism moved into the real world. Why?

Citizens worry about the impact of climate change, and they know that fossil fuels are the problem. They have come to recognize that powerful interests are blocking the necessary shift to clean energy, and they simply no longer trust that their governments are doing enough to stand up for the future of the planet. This was reflected not only in the record number of people who participated, but also in the diversity of the marchers – urban activists, indigenous groups, adherents of different faiths and political viewpoints, and, most conspicuously, old and young.

People today draw natural connections between climate change and daily life. Teachers stood for schools that run on renewable energy, women supported healthier agriculture, grandmothers demanded clean air for their grandchildren, unions want a green job transition, and city mayors want investments in energy-efficient buildings.

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