Over 400,000 marching - more than three times the expected number! Some were actually finishing the march at the same time others were beginning. This extraordinary turnout might be attributed to the distributed organizing strategy, with 1574 participating organizations, or the inclusive and empowering messaging. I believe a key component was a growing common urgency in the populace, as people realize that climate change touches everyone and its already here. The question I asked myself was, what does our movement need now?
Rumblings of the People's Climate March sifted through my inbox, my Facebook news feed, and casual conversations for months leading up to the day of the event. The invitation was to call for strong action on climate from international leaders at Secretary General Ban Ki Moon's UN Climate Summit. I was keeping an ear to the ground on the progress of my fellow youth climate organizers, but I had really no idea what to expect in New York. No one did.
Hi, my name is Lucy West and I'm a senior at St. Paul Central High School in Minnesota. I am also a co-president of my school's environmental club, Roots & Shoots. I went to the People's Climate March with a group of high schoolers from around the Twin Cities as part of the YEA! MN youth delegation – a program of the Will Steger Foundation. The People's Climate March was a huge gathering of people in New York City of 400,000 people calling for immediate climate action.
Just in case you hadn’t heard! Over 400,000 people joined the People’s Climate March, including 50,000 students and young people! The student contingent took over 10 city blocks: http://on.fb.me/1ym7DEK
The Will Steger Foundation was proud to send 10 high school students through our YEA! MN program on a 22 hours bus ride, joining over 400 other Minnesotans to be part of history in NYC.
Perspectives from a Youth Climate Leader and the U.S. Lead Negotiator, Todd Stern
Abigail Borah, Middlebury College student delivered (unauthorized) remarks to the plenary on behalf of the American people just before Todd Stern, representing the U.S. State Department:
"I am speaking on behalf of the United States of America because my negotiators cannot. The obstructionist Congress has shackled justice and delayed ambition for too long. I am scared for my future. 2020 is too late to wait. We need an urgent path to a fair, ambitious, and legally binding treaty. You must take responsibility to act now, or you will threaten the lives of youth and the world's most vulnerable. You must set aside partisan politics and let science dictate decisions. You must pledge ambitious targets to lower emissions, not expectations. Citizens across the world are being held hostage by stillborn negotiations. We need leaders who will commit to real change, not empty rhetoric. Keep your promises. Keep our hope alive. 2020 is too late to wait."
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