by Amy Edelman
Sunday morning I woke up at an hour when I am usually snuggled up and dreaming to get ready and hop on the bus to NYC for the world’s biggest climate march.
My friend Ron and I grabbed coffee, cell phones and chargers and headed to the bus leaving from Ardmore. Our bus was filled with students from Haverford, hippies from the Main Line and middle aged mamas like me marching to demand action on Climate Change.
Our bus captain, Walter, 84, represented the Philadelphia chapter of 350.org, the organization led by Bill McKibben that organized the march.
As we headed North with 15 buses from Philly I felt a little nostalgic. Demonstrations and marches, a thing of my childhood, do not excite me as an adult but – I must admit – has a certain air of excitement. Thousands of people gathering to demand that our policy makers hear the voice of its citizens is some powerful stuff. The People’s Climate March took place on the eve of the United Nation’s 2014 Climate Summit which begins this week in NYC.
We began to gather at 86th and Central Park West at 11:30 a.m., and the streets were jam-packed with people. I have to admit I felt more than a little verklempt at the sight of so many people. Crowd counts Googled from varying sources estimated from 310,000 to 400,000 citizens.
Seniors, college students, children on shoulders and babies in strollers lined the route from Central Park West to Times Square – four miles through Manhattan, with organizations like the Sierra Club, OXFAM, and the NRDC represented. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the UN, linked arms with Al Gore, Jane Goodall and the Mayor of NYC.
Actors like Evangeline Lilly, Ed Norton and Leonardo DiCaprio marched with anti-fracking activist Mark Ruffalo.
In addition to the March in NYC, there were 2,600 events in 150 countries around the world yesterday demanding action on climate change.
Ending fossil fuel dependency and moving to clean energy was the main overarching theme. Only governments can act to make substantial changes that will affect a challenge this large. It’s the defining issue of our time, and we are approaching the 11th hour. Preserving a livable planet for the next generation is something that everyone can get behind because there is no “planet B.” And this is the only planet with chocolate!