This Sunday, both Yale students and New Haven residents plan to join the ranks of thousands of other activists in order to promote awareness of climate change at the People’s Climate March in New York City.
The march, which will start in Central Park and weave its way downtown, looks to be one of the most well-attended rallies in the history of the climate justice movement, said Alexandra Barlowe ’17, outreach coordinator for FFY and one of the campus leaders coordinating Yale students attending at the event. The Yale Student Environmental Coalition has already seen over 140 students sign up for spots on the two buses that it has organized to attend the event, and reports that even more students plan to attend independently.
“We’re in a unique place to take part in this moment in history,” said Daniel Leibovic ’17, president of YSEC.
Barlowe said that she estimates over 100,000 people will be in attendance.
Chelsea Watson, vice president of YSEC and a campus leader for the event, said that YSEC’s planning for the march began in the summer, when it was contacted by the national office of the People’s Climate March. According to Watson, enthusiasm for attending the march has spanned across all grades from upperclassmen and graduate students to freshmen who knew about the march before even setting foot at Yale.
Leibovic said that YSEC does not have space on its buses for all those who expressed interest, but it has been pointing students towards other campus organizations who have contingents attending, such as the Slifka Center and the School of Forestry. Additionally, local faith and political leaders have struck a bargain with Metro-North to offer reduced-price tickets to those attending the march from Connecticut. Tickets will cost $28 for those over 19 years old and $13.50 for those under 19 years old.
Support of the march has not been limited to the confines of Yale’s campus. Last Tuesday, a coalition of faith, labor and political leaders — including the executive secretary of the Connecticut AFL-CIO, as well as U.S. Senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal LAW ’73 — joined together at a press conference in New Haven to express their support of the rally.
The march is being held just two days before the 2014 U.N. Climate Summit in New York, which will be attended by world leaders such as President Barack Obama.
Riddhima Yadav ’18, a scheduled panelist at a forum on women and climate change that is to be cohosted by U.N. Women and the Mary Robinson Foundation a day before the U.N. summit, has drafted a letter with YSEC to show Yale students support for the climate justice movement. Yadav said she hopes to pass the letter on to Mary Robinson, U.N. Special Envoy for Climate Change, who is scheduled to attend the forum. This week, Yadav and YSEC plan to garner student support by asking students to sign the letter.
“This statement is just meant to be a symbolic gesture — to send a message to heads of state that we have high expectations, and that we want this summit to have real outcomes and not insubstantial rhetoric,” Yadav said.
Watson said that the freshmen have been very involved in preparing to go to the march. On Sunday, freshmen helped paint signs on Old Campus for the rally, and many have signed up for spots on the busses.
Phoebe Chatfield ’18 said that while she had known about the rally before coming to Yale, she was surprised at how welcoming various environmental groups on campus had been in extending the invitation to get involved with planning.
“The march is really going to show the true face of the climate justice movement — and that face is all the faces,” said Maya Jenkins ’18. “It’s going to be incredible to see people from all different backgrounds and different experiences to be there because it affects us all, and I think that’s what this movement is really going to show.”
Leibovic said that YSEC may organize an on-campus rally either before or after the march to show support.