A Day at the People’s Climate March in NYC
The first march or rally I had ever been to was the Forward on Climate Rally held in D.C. a couple years ago. I made it there alone on a bus and was heartened by the atmosphere and positive spirit of the 40,000 or so Americans marching around the White House, signs waving and chants sounding, compelling President Obama to heed our cries. Almost two years have passed and the EPA has taken some steps in the right direction with more stringent automotive standards and power plant carbon emissions reduction goals but in general our civilization has continued to burn fossil fuels at a relentless pace, in the United States and around the world, and continued to invest in pipelines and extraction equipment.
The People’s Climate March in NYC drew over 400,000 concerned citizens, demanding that world leaders take meaningful action toward addressing the global issue of climate change, in hopes that leaders assembled at the UN that week would work together to avert the disastrous effects on all our Planet’s inhabitants of continuing to burn fossil fuels at current rates.
For me the bottom line is that fossil fuels will run out and we have the technology to power ourselves in renewable ways, it is simply a matter of making that transition. This transition will not always be easy but that is not a reason to ignore the need for change. We are only beginning to understand the overwhelming costs of failing to act on this issue but we must take action before the world that our grandparents lived on is forever changed from the one our grandchildren will inhabit. The reasons are not simply sentimental; the costs to our food systems, infrastructure, and coastal communities posed by climate change are vast and will affect everyone and everything. We must work to mitigate these harmful effects and address the root of the problem, which in the end is simple. We must learn to use energy produced in renewable ways as efficiently as possible and wean ourselves of the powerful but ultimately devastating combustion of fossil fuels.
I was in awe at the sheer number of individuals united around this common call for action in New York City. The diversity of age, race, and background, and the combined spirit of hope and action were inspiring. The most moving event occurred just before one, almost two hours into the march, when the entire 4 plus miles of marchers raised their hands to signal the two minutes of silence planned to recognize the many already affected by climate change around the world. From jubilant marching bands, noise-making sign-bearers, and call and response chants, the silence washed down the line and suddenly the streets of New York where hushed with hundreds of thousands, two arms to the sky as far as I could see between the canyons of skyscrapers. The planned minute was drawing to an end when I heard a wind from down the line and realized as the noise blew closer that it was in fact the cheering of these thousands sweeping down the line. The call for climate action had been sounded by the near half million assembled and it was announced with conviction, compassion, and excitement. I will never forget what it felt like to be a part of this unified display by so many and I can only hope that the rest of the world was listening.
View all of Thomas’s People’s Climate March Photo Gallery
Thomas Tutor is an energy advisor and technical salesperson for ReVision Heat. He takes a holistic approach to helping people find the most practical and cost effective ways to reduce their energy costs and get off fossil fuels. As a sixth generation islander whose family always heated with wood, he is connected and appreciative of heat and the work it requires to obtain it. When he is not helping people lower their heating costs, he enjoys weekend adventures: camping, hiking, exploring nature, hanging out with good friends, and touring the city on his bike.