The biggest climate march in history is taking place on Sunday! Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to take to the streets of major cities in the world this Sunday, 21 September, to pressure world leaders to take action on global warming. Join a local march or event!
On 23 September, heads of state will join a New York summit on climate change organised by Ban Ki-moon.
The UN secretary general hopes the meeting will inject momentum into efforts to reach a global deal on cutting greenhouse gas emissions by the end of 2015, at a conference in Paris.
Ricken Patel, executive director of digital campaign group Avaaz, one of the organisers of the People’s Climate March on 21 September, said demonstrations are intended to send a signal to those world leaders, who are expected to include David Cameron and Barack Obama, though not heads of state from China and India.
“We in the movement, activists, have failed up until this point to put up a banner and say ‘if you care about this, now is the time.’ Here is the place, let’s come together, to show politicians the political power that is out there. Our goal is to mobilise the largest climate change mobilisation in history and the indications are we’re going to get there,” he said.
More than 100 000 expected in NY alone
Patel said he expects more than a hundred thousand people at the New York march alone. Many of the hundreds of organisations that have committed to taking part are environmental groups, though not all are traditional ‘green’ activists.
“There’s a very strong range and diversity of people from all walks of life, including immigrant rights groups, social justice groups. Whoever you are and wherever you are, climate change threatens us all so it brings us together.”
Nearly 400,000 have signed a call on Avaaz’s site, saying they will attend one of the global events, which also include marches in Berlin, Paris, Delhi, Rio and Melbourne. So too Cape Town, Johannesburg and Pietermaritzburg.
Patel added: “We’re building for the longterm here. This is about launching a movement that can literally save the world over the longterm. We want to build to last. We recognise that at this stage what needs be done is build political momentum behind this issue – our governments are nowhere near even the planning to reach the agreements needed to keep warming below [temperature rises of] 2C.”
The World Council of Churches and Religions for Peace have organized an Interfaith Summit on Climate Change, to be held in New York from 21-22 September 2014. This is part of their ongoing effort to influence the climate negotiations in the interests of creation and humanity. A key objective will be to convey the faith communities’ concerns and proposals to the Secretary General’s Climate Summit.
In an open letter to be published this week, environment and development groups including Greenpeace, Oxfam and WWF, plus politicians including Green party MP Caroline Lucas and Labour MP Tom Watson, have joined with trade unions and faith groups to call on world leaders to use the UN summit to take action on climate change.
“Politicians all over the world cite a lack of public support as a reason not to take bold action against climate change. So on 21 September we will meet this moment with unprecedented public mobilisations in cities around the world, including thousands of people on the streets of London.
“Our goal is simple – to demonstrate the groundswell of demand that exists for ambitious climate action,” they write.
Celebrities backing the People’s Climate March include model Helena Christensen, musician Peter Gabriel, actor Susan Sarandon, Argentine footballer Lionel Messi and actor Edward Norton.
The previous biggest assembly for a climate march was in Copenhagen in 2009 (pictured above), when tens of thousands of people took to the streets.
Separately on Monday, NGOs Greenpeace, WWF, Green Alliance, RSPB and Christian Aid published a report, Paris 2015: Getting a global agreement on climate change, laying out the level of ambition required for a deal at the UN climate talks in Paris.
Matthew Spencer, Green Alliance’s director, said: “There is a fashionable pessimism about multilateralism which shields people from disappointment but does nothing to protect us from the insecurity that climate change is bringing. Only a strong international agreement can avoid that and give nation states the confidence that they will not be alone as they decarbonise their energy systems.”
Join the local activities
On 18 September, faith leaders and Climate Change Activists will be hosting a public dialogue in front of Parliament, Cape Town.
On 18 September representatives of 350.org Africa will hand their Climate Change petition to the Government at the Union Building in Pretoria. Click here to sign the We Lead You Africa Climate Change Petition.
Join or organise a local March for Change near you on 21 September to demand the world that we know is within our reach: a world with an economy that works for people and the planet; a world safe from the ravages of climate change; a world where communities are not destroyed by conflicts over gas and oil, a world with good jobs, clean air and water, and healthy communities.
The people of Pietermaritzburg are holding a peaceful climate march on the 21st of September – find more info here.
In Emmarentia Dam, Johannesburg, there is a People’s Climate Picnic and Heart Formation happening from about 13:00. More info available here.
Cape Town will gather at the Oranjezicht City Farm from 10 to 13:00 – see more details on our calendar.
Join # We Lead You Africa here and find out about the Climate March initiatives throughout Africa and closest to you. Sign the petition to our African leaders here. Find more info on the UN Climate Summit here.
On Tuesday, 23 September there will be a Climate Dialogue in front of Parliament, Cape Town. More details on our calendar.