More than 400,000 people turned out in New York City on September 21 for the People’s Climate March to show the world just how serious they are about climate change. The climate march comes at a crucial time when several indicators highlight the precarious position that the climate is currently in.
The march featured big name celebrity environmentalists ranging from Bill McKibben and Al Gore to Leonardo DiCaprio, as well as policymakers such as Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT). And the vast majority of the marchers were shuttled in by more than 550 buses of people from around the world.
Today, 120 world leaders including President Barack Obama are expected to convene at the United Nations in New York and discuss what can be done to tackle climate change and the harmful impacts of increased carbon pollution.
The US is still a leading contributor to the carbon dioxide pollution in the atmosphere, in combination with China and India. In fact, a recent study found that this past year the world emitted more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than any other year in history.
By hosting the Climate March this past Sunday, marchers hope to prove to other nations around the world that the United States is ready and committed to making a positive change for the environment, despite the country's major contribution to the problem in past years. This is more than can be said by India and China who despite being growing contributors to carbon dioxide emissions, will not be in attendance at the climate summit.
Fourteen passionate BC students gathered together to travel to NYC and take part in the history making Climate March. Students marched and chanted cheers such as, “Ohhh, it’s hot in here, there’s too much carbon in the atmosphere,” and “Hey, hey. Ho, ho. Fossil fuels have got to go."
Alyssa Florack (A&S ‘17), a member of the coordination team of Climate Justice at BC, says that everyone in attendance “was very hopeful.” Florack also added, “The purpose was to show that people care about the issue and that it is something that needs to be dealt with... The march is supposed to be the start of the climate justice movement [and] I definitely think it’s working.”
Major changes are already in the works. For example, the Rockefellers heirs, who had built their fortune on oil, announced that they will divest and abandon fossil fuels. In the days and weeks to come, we will see how impactful the People's Climate March was and see if there really is power in numbers in the movement to combat climate change.