New York City Hosts Historic Climate March
Nationwide planning is in high gear for the “largest, most diverse day” of action on climate change. The highly publicized “People’s Climate March” this Sunday, September 21 in New York City is expected to be the largest march for climate action in world history.
The march is scheduled to take place just two days before President Obama and world leaders attend the historic Emergency Climate Summit at the United Nations. General Ban Ki-moon is urging government leaders to support an ambitious global agreement to dramatically reduce global warming pollution.
Environmental and Faith-Based Groups Converging on New York City
President and Founder Sally Bingham of Interfaith Power & Light (IPL) will be in New York for most of Climate Week. On Saturday, she will lead a workshop at the Religions for the Earth Conference hosted by the Union Theological Seminary. On Sunday, she and many state chapters of IPL, will be taking part in the Peoples Climate March. Afterwards she will attend an interfaith service at St. John the Divine at 6PM.
The mission of IPL is to be faithful stewards of Creation by responding to global warming through the promotion of energy conservation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy. Their campaign goals are to protect the Earth’s ecosystems, safeguard the health of all Creation, and ensure sufficient, sustainable energy for all. Since 2000, IPL has helped thousands of congregations address global warming by being better stewards of energy. They have actively educated millions of people of faith about the important role they have to play in this challenging issue.
There are many IPL state affiliates planning buses and activities. If you’re interested in taking part in the People’s Climate March in New York, visit the IPL closest to you to plan your trip and to learn where everyone is meeting before the march.
Labor Union Leaders Joining Hands With Religious Leaders for Climate Action
All over the country, more than 1,000 organizations have endorsed this historical event. The People’s Climate March in New York City is bringing together the world’s leading environmental groups, faith-based organizations, more than 300 colleges and universities, and over 50 labor unions.
As a perfect example, in Connecticut this past week, several of the state’s top labor leaders stood together with a diverse group of religious leaders. Joined by both of Connecticut’s senators, they announced an agreement with Metro-North Railroad to provide discount fares and enhanced capacity for people traveling from Connecticut to New York City for the upcoming People’s Climate March.
Support From the Connecticut Roundtable on Climate and Jobs
The coalition gathered at Union Station is called the Connecticut Roundtable on Climate and Jobs. Launched in June of 2012, the Roundtable is a partnership between the Interreligious Eco-Justice Network (IREJN) and the CT AFL-CIO. Their mission is to strengthen collaboration among Connecticut’s labor, environmental, and religious groups in advocating for public policies that address climate change while creating good-paying jobs in Connecticut.
Senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal had helped advocate for the discount ticketing agreement with Metro-North. They expressed enthusiastic support for the organizing being done to get Connecticut residents to participate in the New York City march.
Sen. Blumenthal: “Climate Change Is Real and We Are Causing It”
“Climate change is real and we are causing it,” Senator Blumenthal said. “We must act now to mitigate its devastating impacts, and to prevent future, escalating harm. I am proud to stand with the growing, diverse and vocal coalition of people calling for immediate action, and I applaud President Obama’s leadership in forging an international agreement to curb fossil fuel emissions. I am outraged and dismayed by Congress’s failure to act, and in the absence of responsible, bipartisan action, the federal government must continue to do what it can to protect our future generations.”
Also participating in the press conference was Rev. Thomas Carr, Pastor of Second Baptist Church of Suffield and co-founder of the Interreligious Eco-Justice Network. “Recognizing climate change as a moral issue means recognizing that all of us — and especially people of faith — have an obligation to act,” said Carr.
Joining Rev. Carr was Mrs. Fatma Antar, a board member of the Interreligious Eco-Justice Network, and Cair-CT. Co-Founder of the Islamic Association of Greater Hartford/Berlin Mosque, Fatma is an active community leader in both Islamic and interfaith activities. She serves on several additional boards, including Hartford Seminary, Connecticut Council for Interreligious Understanding (CCIU), New Britain Area Interfaith Council, and Muslim Christian Women of Hope.
“We Do Not Inherit the Earth From Our Ancestors”
Also speaking on this occasion, Rabbi Joshua Hammerman of Temple Beth-El in Stamford highlighted the important role of faith communities. “It is important for the religious community to stand as one in the face of the stark reality of climate change,” Rabbi Hammerman said. “As people enjoined by our Creator to be custodians of Creation, we must recall that we do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.”
CT State Council of Machinists President John Harrity serves on the Steering Committee for the CT Roundtable on Climate and Jobs. “Here in Connecticut, Labor is working together with our allies in religious communities and environmental groups to build a sustainable, renewable energy future, creating jobs while protecting the climate,” said Harrity.
He continued, “Climate change is the most important issue facing all of us for the rest of our lives. When our kids, and grandkids, ask ‘What did you do to help stop this disaster?’ which they will surely ask if we do not take drastic steps immediately — Machinists Union activists can say, ‘We helped save the world. We were there on September 21.’”
Students Marching for Fossil Fuel Divestment
Likewise, from all over the nation, an unprecedented surge of tens of thousands of students from more than 300 campuses will join the People’s Climate March in New York. Students have built a movement at hundreds of colleges and universities to demand fossil fuel divestment and local solutions. They’re joining the march to demand bold climate action and an end to extractive industries as President Obama and world leaders meet at the United Nations.
“Students on hundreds of campuses, and thousands of youth vote leaders across the country are bringing their power and voices to the People’s Climate March to say enough is enough, we will divest from fossil fuels and build a new clean and just economy, and President Obama and world leaders better be prepared to join us, or face the political consequences,” said Maura Cowley, director of Energy Action Coalition.
“Our Message to Anyone Anywhere… Join Us”
The march will begin at Columbus Circle, proceed over on 59th Street to 6th Avenue, down 6th Avenue to 42nd Street, then right on 42nd Street to 11th Avenue. The route passes by some of New York City’s most famous landmarks, from Rockefeller Center to Times Square.
Eddie Bautista, Executive Director of the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance, had this to say in response to the route approval, “People are seeing this crisis unfold all around them, especially in low-income and communities of color. That’s why the People’s Climate March won’t only be the largest, but also the most diverse global day of action on climate change — from unions to immigrants to parents to students to communities of faith. Our message to anyone anywhere concerned about the way the climate crisis will impact our jobs, health, children and communities is simple: join us.”
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