Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

To Change Everything We Need Everyone

Climate

The slogan of the 300,000+ People’s Climate March that rolled over Manhattan like a tsunami yesterday, “To change everything we need everyone” was embodied not only in the raw numbers—larger than the 1963 March for Jobs and Justice led by Martin Luther King—but also in the incredible diversity of the crowd and the organizations participating, and the careful structuring of its building blocks.

There were separate staging and rallying locations for front line communities, labor, churches and civic groups, anti-mining, drilling and fracking activities, environmentalists pursuing climate solutions like renewable energy. Put together these blocks told a story—of the way in which each one of these tribal communities can be part of a bigger climate movement. The media coverage, of course, missed the granularity of this organizing structure—but couldn't help be influenced by it. The lead voice in the New York Times story was not Bill McKibben, Al Gore or Ban ki-Moon, but Carol Sutton of the Connecticut teacher’s union.

But while the entire story didn't make it onto the front page, it was laid out intentionally and clearly for the 300,000 participants—making this rally far more of an educational and explanatory exercise than any protest march I've previously witnessed.

The Secretary General’s act in joining this march—whose expressed purpose was to apply pressure to the nations gathering at the UN Climate Summit this week—was still extraordinary and unprecedented, as well as alarming. In effect, he was publicly calling out his bosses, the UN member nations, for inadequate leadership on climate.

Underneath it all, making this day possible, was the terrible tragedy of Hurricane Sandy. Sandy has impacted this metropolitan region far more deeply than similar climate tragedies in other regions, making a climate movement a reality here more deeply even than in ostensibly greener California. I can’t for example, imagine a climate rally in San Francisco in which a building super, representing SEI Local 32BJ, proclaimed that every building his colleagues come into they find ways to reduce energy consumption.

But while consciousness and nascent movement building are deeper here than in California, policy lags. So my guess is that Mayor Bill DeBlasio’s announcement that NYC would cut emissions 80 percent by 2050 will only be the first of a series of climate solution milestones to come out of this region.

The People’s March is not the only fertile idea spawned by Ban ki-Moon’s decision to call this summit. Cornell’s school of labor relations hosted a deep dive by global trade leaders into the question of how the coming transition from the age of fossil fuels to the age of clean energy can be made democratic and publicly accountable in a way that coal and oil never were. C40, the global consortium of major cities working on climate chaired by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, hosted a glittering awards ceremony to showcase the best ideas emerging from urban ingenuity. The 10 winners span the globe. San Francisco’s Zero Waste program is up there with Rio’s Sustainable Cities initiatives and Singapore’s Intelligent Transit.

Cities are, in my view, going to be the game breaker. They will, for the first time, house far more than  half of humanity by 2050; they are enormous energy consumers but not very big producers, the natural gas coming out from under the Dallas-Ft. Worth airport notwithstanding. So the politics of a transition off ever more expensive and dangerous carbon fuels is right for them, and they are the center of knowledge aggregation and connection—the key ingredient to finding ways to meet the world’s energy needs without continuing to mine and release fossil carbon.

So, yes, I think this summit will be seen as a game changer for climate. And the fact that it took place in New York is not accidental.

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

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

The Anderson Community Group. Left to right, Caroline Laur, Anita Foust, the Rev. Bryon Shoffner, and Bill Compton, came together to fight for environmental justice in their community. Anderson Community Group

By Isabella Garcia

On Thanksgiving Day 2019, right after Caroline Laur had finished giving thanks for her home, a neighbor at church told her that a company had submitted permit requests to build an asphalt plant in their community. The plans indicated the plant would be 250 feet from Laur's backdoor.

Read More Show Less
Berber woman cooks traditional flatbread using an earthen oven in her mud-walled village home located near the historic village of Ait Benhaddou in Morocco, Africa on Jan. 4, 2016. Creative Touch Imaging Ltd. /NurPhoto / Getty Images

By Danielle Nierenberg and Jason Flatt

The world's Indigenous Peoples face severe and disproportionate rates of food insecurity. While Indigenous Peoples comprise 5 percent of the world's population, they account for 15 percent of the world's poor, according to the World Health Organization.

Read More Show Less
Danny Choo / CC BY-SA 2.0

By Olivia Sullivan

One of the many unfortunate outcomes of the coronavirus pandemic has been the quick and obvious increase in single-use plastic products. After COVID-19 arrived in the United States, many grocery stores prohibited customers from using reusable bags, coffee shops banned reusable mugs, and takeout food with plastic forks and knives became the new normal.

Read More Show Less
A mostly empty 110 freeway toward downtown Los Angeles, California on April 28, 2020. Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The shelter in place orders that brought clean skies to some of the world's most polluted cities and saw greenhouse gas emissions plummet were just a temporary relief that provided an illusory benefit to the long-term consequences of the climate crisis. According to new research, the COVID-19 lockdowns will have a "neglible" impact on global warming, as Newshub in New Zealand reported.

Read More Show Less
Centrosaurus apertus was a plant-eating, single-horned dinosaur that lived 76 to 77 million years ago. Sergey Krasovskiy / Stocktrek Images / Getty Images

Scientists have discovered and diagnosed the first instance of malignant cancer in a dinosaur, and they did so by using modern medical techniques. They published their results earlier this week in The Lancet Oncology.

Read More Show Less
Parks keep people happy in times of global crisis, economic shutdown and public anger. NPS

By Joe Roman and Taylor Ricketts

The COVID-19 pandemic in the United States is the deepest and longest period of malaise in a dozen years. Our colleagues at the University of Vermont have concluded this by analyzing posts on Twitter. The Vermont Complex Systems Center studies 50 million tweets a day, scoring the "happiness" of people's words to monitor the national mood. That mood today is at its lowest point since 2008 when they started this project.

Read More Show Less

Trending

The ubiquity of guns and bullets poses environmental risks. Contaminants in bullets include lead, copper, zinc, antimony and mercury. gorancakmazovic / iStock / Getty Images Plus

New York State Attorney General Letitia James announced Thursday that she will attempt to dismantle the National Rifle Association (NRA), arguing that years of corruption and mismanagement warrant the dissolution of the activist organization, as CNN reported.

Read More Show Less