On 21 September 2014 nearly 400,000 people of all walks of life, economic status and nationalities, came together in one of the largest marches in a decade in New York, and one of the largest mobilisations for the environment ever!
Most notable, whilst this was impressively large, global support for this event took place around the globe in over 3000 events in over 150 countries, resulting in over a million people from around the globe marching for the same cause! Importantly for the African continent is that this march was led by and heavily supported by low-income communities, indigenous groups and labour unions, making a statement about who climate change is impacting first, and why this is not just a green movement but a social justice movement. In Africa too marches have taken place in: Togo, Niger, The Ivory Coast, Benin, South Africa (Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town) and Africa’s largest city Lagos, took to the streets.
ICLEI has lent its support to the Peoples Climate March, and leading mayors took to the streets, ‘walking the walk’ hand in hand with leaders such as UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiane Figueres. Mayors George Ferguson (Bristol, UK), Herbert Bautista (Quezon City, Philippines), Jürgen Nimptsch (Bonn, Germany), Frank Cownie (Des Moines, USA), Ronan Dantec (Nantes) joined in; and Mayor Gustavo Petro led one of the biggest marches in his city of Bogotá, capital of Colombia.
“Only when you move, you can move the world. I am excited to be part of a Mayors Delegation joining todays People Climate March and thereby to join a global pro climate movement. On Tuesday, we will attend the Secretary Generals Climate Summit and demonstrate our commitment and engagement – via the Compact of Mayors and by carbonn, the Bonn based international reporting platform compiling initiatives and achievements of the local level worldwide.” said mayor Jürgen Nimptsch.
Besides engaging in the march, ICLEI is actively involved in nine action-oriented initiatives linked to the upcoming UN summit: Compact of Mayors, City Climate Finance Alliance, CCAC Municipal Solid Waste Initiative, Resilient Cities Accelerator Initiative, Carbon Pricing, Buildings Efficiency Accelerator Initiative, District Energy Accelerator Initiative, and Urban Electric Mobility Vehicles. Check out the full Schedule.
“We said it would take everyone to change everything — and everyone showed up,” said Eddie Bautista, Executive Director of the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance.
“The frontlines of the climate crisis are low-income people, communities of color and indigenous communities here in the US and around the globe. We are the hardest hit by both climate disruption––the storms, floods and droughts––as well as by the extractive, polluting and wasteful industries causing global warming,” said Cindy Wiesner, Co-Director of The Climate Justice Alliance. “We are also at the forefront of innovative community-led solutions that ensure a just transition off fossil fuels, and that support an economy good for both people and the planet.”
“Today, civil society acted at a scale that outdid even our own wildest expectations. Tomorrow, we expect our political leaders to do the same,” said May Boeve, Executive Director of 350.org