For Immediate Release
Largest Global Call for Climate Action in History
Nearly 400,000 march in NY, events in over 150 countries
NEW YORK - Today, the world marched for climate action. From Manhattan to Melbourne, more than half a million people took to the streets in a unified global move to demand ambitious commitments from world leaders in tackling the climate crisis.
By end of day estimates, the flagship march in New York City drew approximately 400,000 people–more than quadrupling the pre-march estimates of 100,000–just two days before world leaders converge here for an emergency UN Climate Summit.
At 3:00pm, march organizers released an initial count of 310,000 people based on the crowd density along the march route, which stretched across Manhattan from 93rd Street and Central Park West to 34th Street and 11th Avenue. But as the day continued, reports came in of tens of thousands more protesters marching outside the official route, streaming down avenues in midtown Manhattan. At 5:00pm, march organizers had to send out a text asking marchers to disperse from the march route because the crowds had swelled beyond the route’s capacity.
“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 New York march was led by indigenous and frontline communities who came from across the globe to highlight the disproportionate impact of climate change–from communities hit hardest by Superstorm Sandy to people living in the shadow of coal-fired power plants and oil refineries to those living in Island Nations already faced with evacuating their homes.
“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.”
Once an issue seen as dividing environmentalists and labor, today’s march was also notable for the number of unions that joined the climate fight. Nearly every labor union in New York helped organize turnout for the march, including SEIU, the largest union in the city and the second largest in the country.
“Our members are marching because climate change affects all of us,” said Héctor Figueroa, president of 32BJ SEIU. “We live in the communities that get destroyed by storms like Sandy. We work in the buildings that get flooded. We get hit by health epidemics like asthma that are rampant in our communities, and we care about the world that we will leave for our children and grandchildren.”
Notable participants in today’s march also included:
- UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon
- NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio
- Former Vice President Al Gore
- Leonardo di Caprio
- Mark Ruffalo
- Edward Norton
- U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse
- U.S. Senator Bernard Sanders
- U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer
- New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito
- U.S. Representative for Minnesota, Keith Ellison
- U.S. Representative for New York, Nydia Velázquez
- U.S. Representative for New York, Jerrold Nadler
- New York State Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman
- Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Christiana Figueres
“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.
The global day of climate action comes just two days before a UN Climate Summit, which is hosted by UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, and attended by more than 125 world leaders, including US President Barack Obama, French President Francois Hollande, South Korean President Park Geun-hye, and UK Prime Minister David Cameron. The summit is intended to kickstart a process that will end with significant agreement at next December’s global negotiations in Paris.
The organizing for The People’s Climate March required the coming together of 1574 groups in an effort akin to electoral campaigns. Just in the last week, 1,000,000 flyers were handed out across New York City. A total of 550 buses from nearly all 50 states flooded into Manhattan as well as two dedicated trains, one from DC and one from California. For the last month, 1 out of every 10 subway cars in the city also ran ads for the march.
Hi-res photos and B-Roll:
350 is the red line for human beings, the most important number on the planet. The most recent science tells us that unless we can reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million, we will cause huge and irreversible damage to the earth. But solutions exist. All around the world, a movement is building to take on the climate crisis, to get humanity out of the danger zone and below 350. This movement is massive, it is diverse, and it is visionary. We are activists, scholars, and scientists. We are leaders in our businesses, our churches, our governments, and our schools. We are clean energy advocates, forward-thinking politicians, and fearless revolutionaries. And we are united around the world, driven to make our planet livable for all who come after us.