By Bobby Righi, CAGJ Member. See some of Bobby’s photos from the March here!
We have just returned from New York and the People’s Climate March, a beautiful, creative celebration of determination to halt climate change. The throng was close to 400,00 and very diverse in every way. People made creative signs and puppets and floats and danced their way along the 2 mile route. There were so many people along the 50 block staging area that those toward the back of the march had to wait for over 2 hours to get going and the front of the march reached the end celebration long before the last part of the march even began.
We took part in “Flood Wall Street” the next day because, as the organizers said, “the economy of the 1% is destroying the planet, flooding our homes, and wrecking our communities”. This is the point so well made in Naomi Klein’s new book and she spoke at the rally in Battery Park before the march. People sat in the streets of the financial district and shut down traffic for the day while bands played music, people danced and thousands participated. The police did not make arrests until after dark and even though none of this protest had a permit, the cops were not in riot gear, probably because of the growing disgust with the militarization of the police since Ferguson, Mo.
There was a day of workshops on Saturday and I attended one on unions and one titled “What Does the Plight of Young Black Men Have to Do with Climate Change”. This was led by five Black men, organizers from around the country, and the discussion was lively and moving. One of the workshops that Michael attended was on agriculture and Ronnie Cummings, a panelist, said that if we were using agroecological farming methods that built up the soil, we would not only halt climate change but reverse it. On Monday the Rodale Institute, held a press conference to explain to UN delegates that what they call “regenerative organic agriculture” works to maximize carbon fixation and helps reverse climate change.
Was anyone in power paying attention to all of this? The people in the march were from all over the continent and beyond and all seemed to think of this as a joyous first step in a long campaign that they would take home. Via Campesina was there marching and Dena Hoff, the N. American coordinator, put words to what we have to do: “If I try to spread the word on this issue, and you try, and we get everyone in the world that we know to try, that is how we will win.”