Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez gives speech at Climate March

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) speaks at the end of the rally to end fossil fuels ahead of the 78th United Nations General Assembly and Climate Ambition Summit in New York on September 17, 2023.

(Photo by Leonardo Munoz / AFP via Getty Images)

AOC Says Climate Movement Must Become 'Too Big and Too Radical to Ignore'

"We have to send the message that some of us are going to be living on this planet 30, 40, 50 years from now and we will not take no for an answer."

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez issued a fiery speech to the tens of thousands of climate marchers who took to the streets of New York City on Sunday, telling the crowd that "it means something" when people show up in force because now is the time for elected leaders in the United States and around the world to finally show "urgency" on the issue of soaring global temperatures that are driven by the burning of fossil fuels.

"The way that we create urgency on the issue of climate," declared Ocasio-Cortez, "is when we have people all across the world in the streets—in the streets!—showing up, demanding change, and demanding a cessation of what is killing us. We have to send the message that some of us are going to be living on this planet 30, 40, 50 years from now and we will not take no for an answer."

Over 75,000 are estimated to have marched Sunday ahead of the rally that capped off days of organized action in New York and elsewhere in the country and around the world. All of the coordinated activities came ahead of this week's United Nation's General Assembly, including a Climate Ambition Summit initiated by U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres slated for Wednesday.

Calling the climate crisis "the biggest issue of our time," the New York Democrat said the organized movement demanding bold change "must be too big and too radical to ignore."

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Speaks at the 2023 Climate March in

Ocasio-Cortez touted her 2019 Green New Deal legislation that called for a 10-year time period for rapid decarbonization alongside a shift to renewable energy that also includes a just transition for workers impacted by the shift away from good-paying and reliable jobs in the oil, gas, and coal industries.

"We are demanding a change," she said, "so that working people get better jobs and lower bills under a renewable energy economy—that is what we are here to make sure we achieve!"

Further, Ocasio-Cortez slammed the U.S. government under the Biden administration for approving a record number of oil and gas drilling leases and told the crowd "that has got to end today" as she applauded the climate movement for starting to "crack the grip" which the fossil fuel industry holds on the nation's political economy.

"That's because of you," she said to those in the crowd. "Don't let the cynics win. The cynics want us to think that this isn't worth it. The cynics want us to believe that we can't win. The cynics want us to believe that organizing doesn't matter; that our political system doesn't matter; that our economy doesn't matter. But we're here to say that we organize out of hope! We organize out of commitment! We organize out of love! We organize out of the beauty of our future! And we will not give up. We will not let go! We will not let cynicism to prevail!"

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