Quantcast
Climate

400,000 Demand Climate Action Now at Largest Climate March in World History

Today in New York City 400,000 people attended what is now known as the largest climate action in world history.

The march in New York City was by far the largest of the 2,808 People’s Climate rallies that took place today in 166 countries from around the world. From the crowded streets of New Delhi to Melbourne to Johannesburg, hundreds of thousands of people took part in the weekend’s global events.

“This is the most important day yet in the history of the climate movement—around the world and across New York people have said 'enough is enough—we demand serious action now,'" said Bill McKibben co-founder of 350.org.

Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org, moments before the People's Climate March started. Photo credit: Stefanie Spear

“In a few days, more than 100 heads of state and government leaders from around the world, including President Obama, will convene in New York City for a United Nations summit on climate change," said Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT). "They will discuss the planetary crisis of global warming and the dramatic steps we must take to reduce carbon emissions and leave a habitable planet for our kids and our grandchildren. Looking toward the summit, the People’s Climate March on Sunday will be the largest climate action in history. Environmental organization, unions, faith groups, social justice groups, schools, businesses, government leaders and grassroots organizers will all send a message that world leaders need to hear at the United Nations on Tuesday and that the Congress needs to hear when it returns to Washington, D.C. in November. I am proud to participate in this urgent, historic event.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) at the People's Climate March. Photo credit: Stefanie Spear

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) shared his insights on this historic day. “The thousands of Americans converging on New York City today will help to send a clear message: it is time to wake up and act on climate change. It’s time to tell the special interests that continue to deny the science and mislead the public to step aside, and make way for progress. I am proud to be lending my feet and my voice to this effort, and I thank all Americans who will be making the trip.”

At sunrise in Manhattan, indigenous leaders hosted a ceremony to offer prayers for the land, water, air and the protection of frontline peoples across the globe. The march began at 11:30 a.m. at Columbus Circle. At 1 p.m., after a moment of silence to honor those impacted by climate change and the fossil fuel industry, the march "Sounded the Climate Alarm” with drums, trumpets, vuvuzelas and more than 20 marching bands. Churches across the city rang their bells and Jewish temples blew their shofars, as part of this global chorus calling for climate action.

Marc Yaggi, Vandana Shiva and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr at the People's Climate March. Photo credit: Stefanie Spear

“I marched today on behalf of my two children and the clean and safe world I want them to inherit, and the 226 Waterkeeper organizations around the world who are on the front lines of climate change," said Marc Yaggi, executive director of the Waterkeeper Alliance. As we’ve seen, the climate crisis is really a water crisis. Waterkeepers urge the world leaders meeting here in New York this coming week to finally stop talking about climate change and take the action necessary to protect our collective future. The whole world is watching.”

Gary Wockner and Tim DeChristopher at the People's Climate March.

Read page 1

The front of the march ended around 2 p.m. at the Climate Block Party on 11th Avenue where marchers gathered to celebrate the huge turnout of people who say "Now is the time for climate action."

Bold Nebraska director Jane Kleeb at the People's Climate March. Photo credit: Stefanie Spear

The march was organized by 1,572 organizations including indigenous, faith, labor, environmental justice, social justice, youth and environmental groups.

“With our future on the line and the whole world watching, we’ll take a stand to bend the course of history," according to the People's Climate March website. "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."

"The People’s Climate March has given tens of thousands of passionate and dedicated allies an opportunity to let the world’s leaders know that we support setting the highest possible goals to address climate pollution, and that the United States must fully embrace and lead a worldwide effort to accelerate the 21st Century’s complete transformation to a prosperous clean energy economy," said Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club.

Van Jones and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. at the People's Climate March. Photo credit: Stefanie Spear

Read page 1 

"We join the People’s Climate March to let global climate leaders know that in order to address the threat of climate change, they cannot underestimate the climate impacts of methane leaks from fracking," said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch. "Fracked gas cannot be viewed as a 'bridge fuel' to a better climate future, as transitioning from one fossil fuel to another will not reverse the climate crisis. It is time to move beyond fossil fuels to a renewable and sustainable energy future.”

“When people lead, leaders listen. In fact, it’s the only way to be sure they will." said Steve Kretzmann, executive director of Oil Change International. "The hundreds of thousands of people in the streets of New York today are only a fraction of the millions around the world who are blocking pipelines, stopping coal plants, and building a new clean energy future one solar panel at a time. An obvious next step would be for governments to stop wasting billions of taxpayer dollars to make the problem worse. 'Stop Funding Fossils' should be at the top of every climate leaders’ to do list.”

"Shell is set to drill for oil in the American Arctic waters next year. More oil to burn means more global warming, so what happens in the Arctic affects us all," Annie Leonard, executive director of Greenpeace USA. "Communities near and far, from the Rockaways, to Alaska, to Kiribati, are suffering the impacts of climate change ... Greenpeace is joining the People’s Climate March to stand in solidarity with our friends, allies, and partners that are fighting for environmental justice, and say to the polluters that “enough is enough."

“The sea of humanity on the streets of New York today sends a powerful, impassioned message to the world: The time to act on climate is now," Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council. "These marchers are living proof that climate change is more than an environmental issue—it’s about justice and job creation, our health and communities, and ultimately about our future. Our leaders must take urgent action to protect our children, defend our future, and change the world.”

Read page 1

“Brothers and sisters, we’re calling out to the world to join together for true change. Let’s leave the oil beneath the ground," said Patricia Gualinga, international relations director for Kichwa indigenous community of Sarayaku, Ecuadorian Amazon. "The Sarayaku indigenous people believe that instead of bringing ‘development’, the oil industry is destructive for indigenous society, non-indigenous society, the planet, and nature. It disrupts our indigenous worldview and destroys our ecosystems. That’s why we vociferously fight so that oil is not extracted from our territories.”

“Since humanity's survival depends on not burning two-thirds of our global oil reserves, it is imperative that we take action now by limiting fossil fuel extraction, especially in highly sensitive regions," said Atossa Soltani, executive director of Amazon Watch. "Some places should be entirely off-limits to oil drilling. The Amazon basin is one of those places. This diverse biosphere is a keystone area in combating climate change since it regulates our planet’s health. If we protect the Amazon, we can prevent compound disastrous effects across the globe. The People’s Climate March is our opportunity to send a clear and united global call of action to keep the oil in the ground, starting with the Amazon.”

"Throughout history, young people have risked everything to force major social change. The climate crisis is no different. We will march en masse," said Maura Cowley, executive director of Energy Action Coalition. "We will use our financial power to make college university's divest from fossil fuels. And we will use our bodies, and risk arrest to stop business as usual for fossil fuel profiteers on Wall Street. The massive showing at the People's Climate March demonstrates we are ready to shut down the big polluters, and we will stop at nothing less.”

 

Read page 1

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Rev. Lennox Yearwood. Photo credit: Stefanie Spear

“Climate Action must be rooted in justice. The frontlines of the climate crisis are low-income people, communities of color and indigenous communities here in the U.S. and around the globe," said Cindy Wiesner, co-director of The Climate Justice Alliance. "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. 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. That is why Climate Justice Alliance members are here in the thousands, to march and say to global leaders: we have the solutions to ecological and economic crises.”

“With so much at stake and a historical opportunity, this is the time to gather family, friends and neighbors and let them know that what's at stake is our livability," said Elizabeth Yeampierre, executive director of Uprose. "Now is the time build momentum and roll in deep with our loved ones into the Peoples Climate March!”

"I may be an old coal miner, but I know that global warming is real," said Stanley Sturgill, retired coal miner, and member of Kentuckians for the Commonwealth. "I also know that things can be changed. I know we don’t have to destroy our world. That’s why I’m joining the Climate March.”

YOU ALSO MIGHT LIKE

‘This Changes Everything’ Including the Anti-Fracking Movement

McKibben to Obama: Fracking May Be Worse Than Burning Coal

People’s Climate March = Tipping Point in Fight to Halt Climate Crisis

Show Comments ()
Sponsored
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Trump's Response to Climate-Related Disasters: Open America's 'Crown Jewels' to Oil Drilling

By Andy Rowell

You would have thought that after being battered by two devastating hurricanes in recent weeks, which experts believe were fueled by warmer seas caused by climate change, even the most die-hard climate denier would think again.

But you would be wrong.

You would have thought that as the cost of rebuilding after Hurricanes Irma and Harvey mounts, with an estimated bill of $150 billion so far, that politicians would press to move away from a fossil fuel economy.

But you would be wrong again. In fact the opposite is happening.

Instead of pushing for clean technology and to end our oil addiction, the Trump administration is quietly pushing to open up one of America's great last wilderness areas, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, to oil drilling.

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge—or ANWR for short—has been described as "one of the largest intact ecosystems in the world," and "the crown jewel of the National Wildlife Refuge System and one of the most important protected areas on Earth."

Anyone who knows about contemporary American petro-politics will know that the fight over ANWR is not new. It is a 40 year "multi-generational" fight. The naturalist, Peter Matthiessen, once called the battle over ANWR the "longest running, most acrimonious environmental battle in American history."

The oil industry and its allies have long salivated over the prospect of drilling in the refuge's 19.6 million acres. They have long argued that the refuge, home to caribou, polar bears and many endangered species, also houses an estimated 10 billion of barrels of recoverable oil.

There could be more oil, there could be much less, there could be none—no one really knows for sure.

The industry has wanted to drill the refuge for decades, but have been stopped by a determined coalition of environmentalists, First Nations and conservationists.

But for how much longer? When Trump became president he said that opening up ANWR was a top priority. And it seems that despite the recent Hurricanes, Trump is pressing ahead to do this.

As the Washington Post reported at the end of last week: "The Trump administration is quietly moving to allow energy exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge ... with a draft rule that would lay the groundwork for drilling."

Although the Trump administration is pushing for the move, the final say on whether drilling goes ahead lies with Congress.

But in the meantime, officials from the Interior Department—now stuffed full of pro-oil appointees—are quietly modifying a regulation from the 1980's that would allow the industry to undertake seismic surveys.

The Post acquired a leaked memo from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service acting director, James Kurth, to prepare an assessment and a proposed rule to update regulations which go back to the eighties.

Kurth wrote: "When finalized, the new regulation will allow for applicants to [submit] requests for approval of new exploration plans."

Once the rule is finalized, companies could bid to undertake seismic testing in the refuge.

Environmentalists are naturally outraged. Defenders of Wildlife president, Jamie Rappaport Clark, who led the Fish and Wildlife Service under President Bill Clinton, told the Post: "The administration is very stealthily trying to move forward with drilling on the Arctic's coastal plain ... This is a complete about-face from decades of practice."

"This is a really big deal," adds Niel Lawrence, Alaska director of the Natural Resources Defense Council. "This is a frontal attack in an ideological battle. The Arctic is the Holy Grail."

It looks like this battle will go to the courts. It could drag on for years. The stakes are huge. As Robert Mrazek, a former New York congressman and chair emeritus of the Alaska Wilderness League told a recent article in Fortune magazine: "ANWR is an American Serengeti. You can have the oil. Or you can have this pristine place. You can't have both. No compromise."

Sarah James, an ambassador for the Gwich'in First Nations, who lives close to the refuge and who opposes oil development, adds: "If you drill for oil here, you will be drilling into the heart of our people."

Manfred Bortoli

New Agreement Offers Brighter Future for Pacific Bluefin Tuna

By Amanda Nickson

The Pacific bluefin tuna is among the most depleted species on the planet, having been fished down more than 97 percent from its historic, unfished size. For years, this prized fish has been in dire need of strong policies that would reverse that decline, but the two organizations responsible for its management—the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) and the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC)—failed in their recent efforts, allowing overfishing to continue and further risking the future of the species.

Last week, however, at a joint meeting of the WCPFC Northern Committee and IATTC, Pacific bluefin received a much-needed respite when its primary fishing nations—Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Mexico and the U.S.—reached agreement with other member states on a long-term plan that would rebuild the population from its current status of 2.6 percent of pre-fishing levels to 20 percent by 2034. This agreement, if properly implemented, would start the species—and the fishing industry that depends on it—on a path toward sustainability.

After decades of inaction, why did these two fisheries management bodies agree to take the needed steps toward rebuilding? Because ignoring the problem became impossible for managers. In the past two years, three nations exceeded their catch limits. Amid increasing calls from The Pew Charitable Trusts and others for a complete fishing moratorium, and in a worst-case scenario, an international trade ban, the government representatives to the WCPFC committee and IATTC finally stepped up to make a change.

Perhaps most significant was the course reversal by Japan. By far the largest fishing nation for, and consumer of, Pacific bluefin, Japan had long resisted proposed rebuilding plans. This year, though, thanks in part to strong international pressure and growing media attention within the country on the plight of the species, the Japanese delegates dropped that opposition and helped make progress that just a few years ago seemed far out of reach.

Despite this commitment, the work to help Pacific bluefin recover has only begun. In the fishing season that ended on June 30, Japanese fishermen exceeded their catch limits by 334 metric tons, and with many reports of illegal fishing in Japan's waters, the real amount could be higher. The U.S., South Korea and Mexico also exceeded limits over the past two years. Rebuilding the species under the new quotas and timeline will be nearly impossible if such overages continue. All countries that fish for Pacific bluefin must pledge to strengthen their domestic controls and monitoring programs to guarantee that the commitments to rebuilding made this year are not squandered in the future.

The decision on Pacific bluefin made at the joint meeting could signal a move toward a greater focus on conservation at regional fisheries management organizations like the WCPFC and IATTC. This action by major fishing nations indicates that concrete action is possible. Fishermen and fleets now hold the key to a sustained recovery, and all countries must work together to uphold the new rules. If they can do that, real change on the water may come sooner than many of us expected.

Hurricane Irma damage in northeast Florida. St. Johns County Fire Rescue

Why Hurricanes Harvey and Irma Won’t Lead to Action on Climate Change

By Scott Gabriel Knowles

It's not easy to hold the nation's attention for long, but three solid weeks of record-smashing hurricanes directly affecting multiple states and at least 20 million people will do it.

Clustered disasters hold our attention in ways that singular events cannot—they open our minds to the possibility that these aren't just accidents or natural phenomena to be painfully endured. As such, they can provoke debates over the larger "disaster lessons" we should be learning. And I would argue the combination of Harvey and Irma has triggered such a moment.

Keep reading... Show less
Gold Butte National Monument / U.S. Bureau of Land Management

Leaked Zinke Memo Urges Trump to Shrink National Monuments, Allow Drilling

Despite receiving 2.8 million comments from the public in support of our national monuments, U.S. Department of the Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke has advised President Trump to change the way at least 10 of these treasured areas are managed and to shrink the boundaries of at least four of them.

Zinke's report, submitted to Trump in late August and leaked Sunday night, didn't address more than a dozen other monuments that had been under official review.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
www.youtube.com

Naomi Klein Warns Europe May Water Down Paris Accord to Win Support from Trump

President Donald Trump on Tuesday is scheduled to address the United Nations General Assembly. Climate change is expected to be high on the agenda at this year's gathering.

As the world leaders meet, another major storm—Hurricane Maria—is gaining strength in the Caribbean and following a similar path as Hurricane Irma. The current forecast shows Maria could hit Puerto Rico as a Category 4 storm as early as Wednesday. The U.S. Virgin Islands, which were devastated by Irma, also appear to be in line to be hit by Maria.

Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal reported over the weekend that the Trump administration is considering staying in the Paris climate agreement, just months after the president vowed to pull out of it. The White House denied the report. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Sunday signaled Trump may back away from the Paris accord, but National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster gave a different message on Fox News Sunday.

We speak with best-selling author Naomi Klein, a senior correspondent for The Intercept. Her most recent book, "No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump's Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need," has been longlisted for a National Book Award.

Popular
U.S. Army soldiers drive a woman to safety following flooding from Hurricane Harvey in Orange, Texas. Spc. Austin T. Boucher

Beyond Harvey and Irma: Homeland Security in the Climate Change Era

By Michael T. Klare

Deployed to the Houston area to assist in Hurricane Harvey relief efforts, U.S. military forces hadn't even completed their assignments when they were hurriedly dispatched to Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to face Irma, the fiercest hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who had sent members of the state National Guard to devastated Houston, anxiously recalled them while putting in place emergency measures for his own state. A small flotilla of naval vessels, originally sent to waters off Texas, was similarly redirected to the Caribbean, while specialized combat units drawn from as far afield as Colorado, Illinois and Rhode Island were rushed to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Meanwhile, members of the California National Guard were being mobilized to fight wildfires raging across that state (as across much of the West) during its hottest summer on record.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Popular
UN General Assembly Hall. Patrick Gruban / Flickr

Rumors, Mixed Signals Cloud U.S. Plans for Paris Agreement

Rumors and mixed signals on the U.S.'s plans for the Paris agreement swirled over the weekend as the Trump administration prepared for its first UN General Assembly meeting this week.

Reports surfaced that a White House senior official had indicated at an energy summit in Montreal that the U.S. might soften its opposition to the accord.

Keep reading... Show less
www.youtube.com

America Is Doubling Down on Climate Progress

As Climate Week begins in New York, a lot of the world is asking Americans, "How are you doing at making climate progress with a climate denying president?"

The surprising answer is, "Not well enough yet, but much better than you imagine."

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

Get EcoWatch in your inbox