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September 22, 2014


LOOK: 400,000 People
March for the Climate

On an unseasonably warm and humid day despite the calendar declaring summer still on, protesters from around the world hit the streets in midtown Manhattan to demand climate justice ahead of this week’s U.N. summit on climate change. The action was supported by similar demonstrations across six continents. The New York City march, which officially began at Columbus Circle on the southwest side of Central Park, stretched nearly 4 miles uptown before moving south through Times Square and onward. Activist leaders, politicians, and Hollywood stars joined some 400,000 people—shattering game plan estimates of 100,000—making it the action the largest climate change protest in history.

On the same day, the Global Carbon Project announced that in 2013, emissions of greenhouse gases jumped 2.3 percent worldwide (and 2.9 percent in the U.S) to record levels. The World Meteorological Organization also reports that the level of CO2 in the air last year was 42 percent above pre-industrial levels. Scientists warn that emissions of this pace will lead to a ten-degree fahrenheit rise in temperature by century’s end, a level that is incompatible with society as we know it.

For such terrifying numbers, the massive crowd remained jovial and peaceful as they shouted age-old protest slogans with fists to the air. There were even marching bands and dancing (the New Orleans brass contingent was where one could find the boogie). Marchers organized themselves among sub-issue lines—environmental protection, indigenous rights, anti-fracking/drilling, Keystone XL opposition, pro-science education, youth delegations, etc.—to bring awareness to the many consequences that fall under the umbrella of ongoing climate disruptions. As the day wore on, I only saw one stray anti-protest protester who shouted, “Keep drinking the Kool-Aid, you fucking idiots!” He was shrugged off, before being drown out by a tuba player from the NOLA brass section.

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text by: Blaine Skrainka










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