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Climate March Echoes Around the World
By Michael Schweibinz

When was the largest organized event against climate change in the history of our planet? If you’re scrambling for an answer, stop, because you won’t find it in a history book. Instead, flip open just about any newspaper published within the last week, and there it will be—the “People’s Climate March.”

Just this past Sunday, the historic climate march descended on New York City as demonstrators from around the world crowded the streets from Columbus Circle to Times Square. The participants ranged from everyday schoolteachers, to former Vice President Al Gore, to Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York. Smaller Climate Marches took place in many other cities around the country, including Denver.

The overarching message was clear: Greater action needs to be taken regarding climate change. And with global leaders set to meet at the United Nations later this week, there is truly no better time than the present.

A timely announcement from New York Mayor Bill de Blasio gained the applause of many, as he marched through his city having just committed to reducing greenhouse gases by 80% by 2050. But as The New York Times noted, it was not a march for the politicians or economists, it was a march for the “concerned ordinary people, many of them veterans of climate change efforts, others relative newcomers.” And there was no shortage of concerned citizens, a mathematician from Carnegie Mellon University estimated that 311,000 people marched the New York City route!

All in all, the movement was an overwhelming success. Supporters not only helped to spread awareness about climate change, but their sheer numbers demonstrated the widespread concern that the general public has regarding the issue. A major organizer of the event, the international advocacy group Avaaz, “presented a petition with more than 2.1 million signatures demanding action on climate change… It’s a testament to how powerful this movement is,” Ricken Patel, executive director of Avaaz, said.

On Monday, institutional investors collectively managing $50 billion announced that they will divest entirely from fossil fuels. Most prominent among the group is the $860 million Rockefeller Brothers Fund—money originally made under the Standard Oil brand and later under Exxon. “John D. Rockefeller, the founder of Standard Oil, moved America out of whale oil and into petroleum,” explained Stephen Heintz, President of the Fund. “We are quite convinced that if he were alive today, as an astute businessman looking out to the future, he would be moving out of fossil fuels and investing in clean, renewable energy.”

The picture below is from in front of the Flatiron Building, on Fifth Avenue, “a 3,000-pound ice sculpture spelled out “The Future.” Dripping onto the sidewalk, it had been carved over two days in Queens by a group of Japanese ice sculptors.” “I would say we are melting down the future,” said Nora Ligorano, one of the artists who conceived the work. “It’s a comment on what we are doing to the planet.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See more stories and pictures from the New York Times.

 

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Posted: September 23, 2014