Power to the People: The Climate March

 By Bianca Alexander

On September 21, thousands of concerned citizens will take to the streets of New York to heal our planet: will you join them?

Over 1,000,000 flyers have been handed out across New York City in the last five days. Hundreds of volunteers are canvassing subway stations across the city. 496 buses are coming in from nearly all 50 states. More than 32 marching bands are ready to play. It’s official: the People’s Climate March is going to be big.

The march was organized in order to coincide with next week’s UN summit on the climate crisis: UN Secretary­ General Ban Ki-­moon is urging governments to support an ambitious global agreement to dramatically reduce global warming pollution. With our future on the line and the whole world watching, the People’s Climate March was organized to make a statement to over 100 world leaders who will be in town for the summit By marching, participants hope to demand bold action on climate change, including a world with an economy that works for people and the planet; a world safe from the ravages of environmental destruction; a world with good jobs, clean air and water, and healthy communities.

More than 100,000 people are expected to attend the demonstration. Police have blocked off traffic on Central Park West from 59th St. to 86th street to accommodate the tens of thousands of students, workers, parents, scientists, beekeepers, and more who are joining the march. After a press conference featuring a diverse group of individuals sharing personal stories of why the time is now to act for climate change, the march will officially begin at 11:30 a.m. at Columbus Circle,, heading east on 59th Street, south on 6th Ave, west on 42nd Street, and finishing at 11th Avenue and West 34th Street. The front of the march is expected to reach the end of the route at about 2:00pm.

The event will host dozens of committed interest groups – from impacted communities to poets, labor unions to representatives from the LGBT and faith-based communities – holding small rallies along the march route to fire up constituents prior to marching. At 1:00pm, after a moment of silence to honor those impacted by climate change and the fossil fuel industry, the march will “Sound the Climate Alarm” with drums, trumpets, vuvuzelas, and over 20 marching bands. As a demonstration of global unity across ethnicities and religions, churches across the city will ring their bells as Jewish temples blow their shofars, creating a global climate chorus calling for action.

The march is the product of months of frenetic organizing. At a pop-office on 42nd St and Madison Avenue, dozens of volunteers are working the phones and laptops late into the night to help with the Get Out The March (GOTM) effort. Student activists report that there are now young people coming in from 320 campuses across the country. In the “Faith Hub,” hundreds of local and national religious institutions, from all backgrounds, are turning out their members for the march.

“This is the final crunch, the product of six months of work to make the People’s March a big, beautiful expression of the climate movement,” Rachel Schragis, who is helping coordinate the arts hub.

If the coalition is successful in its recruitment goals, the People’s Climate March will be the largest single march on climate change in world history and the first major street protest of New York Mayor DeBlasio’s administration.

Event Details – 11:30 am, Sunday, September 21st

Assembly Location: Central Park West, between 65th and 86th streets.

  • Enter on 65th, 72nd, 77th, 81st, or 86th street.

March Route:

  • The march will begin at 11:30 am.
  • March down Central Park West and go east on 59th Street
  • Turn onto 6th Ave. and go south to 42nd Street
  • Turn right onto 42nd Street and go west to 11th Ave
  • Turn left on 11th Ave. and go south to 34th Street

End Location: 11th Ave. in the streets between 34th Street and 38th Street

If you can't make the march, there are solidarity events happening all around the world – over more than 1500 events in 130 countries – join one in your community or start your own. To sign up for the march, click here.


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