Thousands of climate activists took to the streets of Lima, Peru on Wednesday in a march whose message was as bright as its colors.
Organized as "A March in Defense of Mother Earth," the event, which coincides with the International Day of Human Rights, was part of the Peoples' Summit—a grassroots alternative to the UN climate summit simultaneously underway in the Peruvian capital.
Marchers carried banners reading "Keep the oil in the ground," "Climate justice now," and "Don't let big business rule the world."
"The demand of this march is not a deal at the UN, but a deal at the UN that actually includes the rights and needs of impacted people. If there is no justice, there is no deal," Dipti Bhatnagar, coordinator for Climate Justice and Energy at Friends of the Earth International, said in a statement.
According to the Guardian, the march was modeled on the historic Peoples' Climate March that took place in New York City just months ago. And it is precisely this kind of march that Pablo Solón, Bolivia’s former chief negotiator on climate change and current director of Focus on the Global South, said is what provides the kind of social mobilization and pressure needed to effect change.
Speaking to Democracy Now! on Tuesday, Solón said that "The Peoples' Climate March [...] is more important than what you can do lobbying here" at the UN climate summit, also known as COP20. "What we need to do is not only have a march like in New York, the People’s Climate March, that says take action, but we have to be more concrete: What kind of action do we want? And the issue is that here we are discussing about greenhouse gas emissions, but we don’t discuss here about extractive industries, about fossil fuel that has to be left under the soil. So how are you going to address climate change if you only discuss the issue of the temperature, but not the issue of the fossil fuels?" he asked.
Participants documented Wednesday's march on Twitter with the hashtags #YoMarcho10D and #Marcha10d:
"The movement to end the fossil fuel age that has been based on ceaseless extraction, pollution and dispossession of local communities is only growing stronger. Workers, indigenous peoples, women, youth and environmental activists are linking together to forge new societies and energy systems that put people and the planet first, over corporate greed," Bhatnagar continued.
"If the UN process does nothing to speed that transition, if it does nothing to drastically change our climate course in the immediate pre-2020 period then it will be deliberately ignoring the will of the people taking to the streets."