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Hundreds of thousands of people worldwide participate in climate march

Posted by Guest Author on September 22, 2014

From Manhattan to Melbourne, more than half a million people across the planet took to the streets on Sunday to demand action from world leaders in tackling the climate crisis. According to estimates, the flagship march in New York City, The People’s Climate March, drew 400,000 people alone – more than quadrupling the pre-march estimates of 100,000 – just two days before world leaders converge in the city for the UN Climate Summit.

“We said it would take everyone to change everything — and everyone showed up,” said Eddie Bautista, Executive Director of the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance.

Some of the global highlights include:

  • In Australia, 30,000 people took to the streets of Melbourne, while locals went on a 50 km beach march on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast and a 700 km march took participants on a journey from Melbourne to Canberra. Over 10,000 more participated in events in over 100 other cities and regional towns
  • More than 2,500 people from across India hit the streets of New Delhi on Saturday, the nation’s strongest ever call for climate action
  • In Tanzania, the Maasai marched across their traditional lands to call for action to protect their homelands in the Serengeti from the impacts of climate change. Simultaneous events also took place across Africa, including Johannesburg, Togo, Niger, The Ivory Coast and Benin. A march will also take place today in Africa’s largest city, Lagos
  • In London, the bells of The Church of London rang out across the city as 40,000 people combined forces to create an historic march to the steps of Parliament
  • In Paris, 25,000 people took part in the “Paris Marche pour le Climat,” which took participants across the bridges of the Seine
  • On the US/Canada border, thousands of marchers from First Nations groups and local organizations will make the trip from Vancouver to Seattle in a truly international event, showing that “climate change knows no borders”
  • In the Pacific Islands, from Tonga to Tuvalu to Tokelau, people rallied calling for Action, Not Words, to protect the Pacific Islands. In rural Papua New Guinea, students from a primary school marched to a nearby lighthouse, which has recently become semi-submerged due to rising sea levels. Even as they marched, people all across the Pacific are also preparing to send 30 Pacific Climate Warriors with their canoes to block the world’s largest coal port in Australia in October
  • In Istanbul, close to 3000 people marched through Istanbul’s Taksim Square, with impacted communities from across Turkey at the forefront
  • In Berlin, over 10,000 people participated in three parallel marches which converged for a colourful festival at the Brandenburg Gate
  • In Rio, thousands are marching on the beaches of Ipanema, after images were broadcast on the statue of Christ the Redeemer for the last week building up to the march
  • In Jakarta, thousands of people marched to send an urgent demand to the newly elected President for a commitment to build an economy that is powered by renewable energy. Other events in Asia include Seoul, Taiwan, Manila among others

The New York march was led by indigenous and frontline communities who came from across the globe to highlight the disproportionate impact of climate change – from communities hit hardest by Superstorm Sandy to people living in the shadow of coal-fired power plants and oil refineries to those living in Island Nations already faced with evacuating their homes.

“The frontlines of the climate crisis are low-income people, communities of color and indigenous communities here in the US and around the globe. We are the hardest hit by both climate disruption––the storms, floods and droughts––as well as by the extractive, polluting and wasteful industries causing global warming,” said Cindy Wiesner, Co-Director of The Climate Justice Alliance. “We are also at the forefront of innovative community-led solutions that ensure a just transition off fossil fuels, and that support an economy good for both people and the planet.”

Notable participants in the NYC march included:

  • UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon;
  • NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio;
  • Former Vice President Al Gore;
  • Celebrity activists Leonardo di Caprio, Mark Ruffalo, Edward Norton and Sting; and
  • Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Christiana Figueres.

The global day of climate action comes just two days before the UN Climate Summit. More than 125 world leaders are expected to attend the summit hosted by UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, including US President Barack Obama, French President Francois Hollande, South Korean President Park Geun-hye and UK Prime Minister David Cameron. The Summit is intended to kick-start a process that will end with significant agreement at next December’s global climate negotiations in Paris.

Filed under: Sustainability 101