A scene from the People’s Climate March in New York City.

A scene from the People’s Climate March in New York City.

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!

  • Jim Corcoran

    With 60 BILLION food animals on the planet, this should be our first step in the Climate March!

    “As environmental science has advanced, it has become apparent that the human appetite for animal flesh is a driving force behind virtually every major category of environmental damage now threatening the human future: deforestation, erosion, fresh water scarcity, air and water pollution, climate change, biodiversity loss, social injustice, the destabilization of communities, and the spread of disease.” Worldwatch Institute, “Is Meat Sustainable?”

    “If every American skipped one meal of chicken per week and substituted vegetables and grains… the carbon dioxide savings would be the same as taking more than half a million cars off of U.S. roads.” Environmental Defense Fund

    “A 1% reduction in world-wide meat intake has the same benefit as a three trillion-dollar investment in solar energy.” ~ Chris Mentzel, CEO of Clean Energy

    There is one single industry destroying the planet more than any other. But no one wants to talk about it… http://cowspiracy.com

    Step by Step Guide: How to Transition to a Vegan Diet http://www.onegreenplanet.org/vegan-food/step-by-step-guide-how-to-transition-to-vegan-diet/

    • Amy Edelman

      That is good information and great to get the ideas out there. I like the suggestion that people eliminate one meat meal per week–Weavers Way Coop has great options with “Meatless Mondays” and I believe Whole Foods has a similar program.