This weekend, the world is coming together to make a powerful statement about the reality of climate change and our capacity to take action. Thousands will participate in a People’s Climate March in New York City and in satellite demonstrations across the globe.
Many Yalies plan to join the People’s Climate March. Undergraduates will be traveling on busses provided by CT Sierra and the Yale Student Environmental Coalition. Those not taking the bus will travel by train with Yale graduate students, as well as a group from the Slifka Center for Jewish Life. Many members of Fossil Free Yale will also be marching, not only as advocates for divestment but also as members of the broader climate justice movement. Recently, divestment has been a big topic of conversation on Yale’s campus — but it is only one of many ways our institutions and political leaders can address climate
change. This weekend, any Yale student regardless of his or her affiliation with environmental groups on campus can participate in what will hopefully be a turning point in history.
There will be over 1,400 different organizations represented at the march, ranging from faith-based groups and schools to businesses and unions. Peoplesclimate.org lists the diverse range of groups participating — African Youth Panel, United Electrical Workers union, American Jewish World Service, the National Lawyers Guild and Ghandi Global Center for Peace, to name a few. The march will feature not only a huge procession through the streets of New York City, but also art installations, marching bands and interfaith services, all in the spirit of environmental justice and equality.
Beyond the New York City march, there will be different climate-related marches and events happening across every continent over this weekend. But why is the entire globe mobilizing? And why now? The march is meant to generate public pressure in advance of the UN Climate Summit on September 23, just two days after the march.
The world is mobilizing because people are acknowledging that environmental health and safety are inextricably linked to human rights. Environmental justice is the most pressing and universal issue of our time. This is no longer an issue specifically for activists. It affects people of every race, nationality and socioeconomic status.
The People’s Climate March is an opportunity for all of us to come together as citizens of the planet. Collectively, we will stand in solidarity and support for frontline communities defending themselves from the effects of climate change and fossil fuel extraction. We will demand policies that will lead to a cleaner, healthier earth with an economy that thrives on nurturing the planet rather than destroying it.
The people marching on Sunday will not fulfill the stereotypes of typical activists. This march is about bringing together people of all backgrounds. It will provide a space where people of all types can be activists: college students, families, community leaders, businessmen, artists, teachers, labor leaders, rabbis and politicians celebrating our planet and demanding action to ensure a sustainable future for our communities and for our future generations.
There are very few moments in history when the entire world comes together to fight for a common cause. There are few moments when we can truly say we are witnessing history. But this Sunday, we have the opportunity to become a part of something much larger, something bigger than our communities and ourselves. And it’s going to be magical.
Ali Golden is a sophomore in Trumbull College. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.