On Sunday morning, a global movement to combat and raise awareness about climate change kicked off in New York City. Drawing crowds of hundreds of thousands, demonstrators packed the streets of Manhattan for the 2014 People's Climate March in what is being called the "largest mobilization against climate change in the history of the planet." The march comes in anticipation of the United Nations’ 2014 Climate Summit, and campaigners are making a point to show politicians and world leaders just how serious they are about climate change reform.
Tuesday's summit is also expected to be groundbreaking in its sheer size — UN Assistant Secretary-General Robert C. Orr called it "the largest gathering of global leaders in history on the subject of climate change" at a recent press conference. But outside of meeting rooms, the people of the world are taking to the streets to express their frustrations with governments' apparent unwillingness or inability to affect tangible progress in the face of rising global temperatures.
The march began around 11:30 am, and includes representatives from nearly every demographic and interest group imaginable. New Yorkers, Americans, and citizens of the world of all ages, all races, all careers, and all interests, came together in solidarity to send one message loud and clear — this is our world, and we're here to protect it.
According to the People's Climate March website, the goal of the march is to demand "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." Nearly 3,000 solidarity events are taking place simultaneously across 166 countries. This is, truly, a worldwide effort.
Among the attendants of the New York march are UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, soccer star Lionel Messi, musician Brian Eno, and actors Susan Sarandon, William Shatner and Kiefer Sutherland. Climate change has become one of the few issues that has truly united people across a variety of backgrounds, drawing upon the idea that we all must share a single planet, and are all equally responsible for its fate.
Leslie Cagan, the logistics coordinator of the march, told the New York Times,
We are trying to celebrate our lives and this planet in order to show that this is what we are fighting for. It’s the human spirit — and everything else on this planet — that is in danger.
And thus far, the march, if nothing else, has shown that the human spirit, when acting in harmony, is a beautiful thing to behold. The live stream of the march can be seen below, as well as some truly unbelievable and unforgettable photos that demonstrate the power of community, and the importance of our planet.