Opinion

Why You Should Have Gone to the People’s Climate March

Youth Coalition Converged on New York City to Command Respect for Mother Earth

By Jéan-Claude Quintyne

The People’s Climate March was an organized effort to urge world leaders en-route to New York City on September 21 for a landmark U.N. Climate Summit to take unprecedented action on the global warming crisis.

For the first time in my life I saw the world united. People of all races, ages, and backgrounds marched together to spread the same message—protect the environment and save our mother earth.

If you didn’t go to the Climate March, you missed a rare experience. You missed community and collaboration, beauty and sincerity, love and passion.

There were signs that read “Don’t Mess With Gaia”, “Act Like You Live Here”, and “Defend Our Mother Earth”.

People dressed in hazmat suits, proudly wore Indian headdresses, donned fairy, devil, and animal costumes, and sported business suits. They all danced in the streets together.

Huge artworks of planet earth, Indian statues, soaring flags, colorful tents, and kites shaped as birds painted the sky.

It was disorienting, homely, and energetic. For an introvert, the discomfort of being among so many people and personalities was tossed out the window.

There wasn’t a moment’s hesitation for anybody to add their voice to the many, catchy chants, whoops, whistles.

Marching with 400,000 other people who wanted to let the earth know they care about her future is difficult to digest; being part of such an overwhelming atmosphere is an emotional experience.

For environmentalists used to thinking that they’re only a small voice, most overwhelming was looking up at the giant screens in Times Square and seeing that close to 200 other nations around the globe were marching with them.

And it wasn’t only environmentalists, former Vice President Al Gore, Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon, and New York’s Mayor de Blasio marched as well.

It was as explicit a demonstration as it could be. The importance of dealing with the climate crisis was palpable. All doubt that this isn’t the world’s most pressing issue was squashed.

Scientists and authors Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway put it best in their book “Merchants of Doubt,” exclaiming that “Global warming is a big problem, and to solve it we have to stop listening to disinformation … Rome may not be burning, but Greenland is melting, and we are still fiddling”.

We needed to move the world to action, urge policy makers to get out of their chairs and do something. We needed to tell the world that this is our chance to make an impactful and efficient change.

The ultimate reason why you should have gone to the Climate March was to get lost in the energy of its climax.

Shortly after noon, all marchers along the route quieted down for a moment of silence. How eerie it was for 400,000 people in the streets holding hands and raising fists to be silent.

Slowly the silence was pierced, giving rise to a cacophony of drums, horns, chanting, and cheering—the sounding of the climate alarm.

It isn’t often that we have the opportunity to carry clever, provocative signs throughout Manhattan. People of all walks of life don’t often get to express how proud they are of their culture.

And we don’t often get to take to the streets to demand action on world crises. It felt good to openly fight for earth; it was therapeutic.

For the first time in my life I felt at home, and felt proud of the fact that I am part of a movement to change the world.

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