People's Climate March to Target 'System Powering Our Destruction'

If climate justice campaigners in the U.S. have it right, a September meeting of world leaders in New York City could be the best opportunity in years to flex their movement’s grassroots muscles by staging a mass demonstration in Manhattan’s streets as they call for radical and immediate international action to address the increasingly dire crises of global warming and climate change.

“Together, we’ll take to the streets to demand the world we know is within our reach: a world with an economy that works for people and the planet. A world safe from the ravages of climate change. A world with good jobs, clean air, and healthy communities for everyone.” —People’s Climate March organizers

In a new article published in Rolling Stone on Wednesday, co-founder and lead spokeperson Bill McKibben announced the demonstration and issued an open invitation to anyone—from around the country and across the globe—”who’d like to prove to themselves, and to their children, that they give a damn about the biggest crisis our civilization has ever faced.”

The target of the march will be the UN’s 2014 Climate Summit, designed to bring government policy-makers along with business, finance, civil society and local leaders from around the world together ahead of the next official UN Conference on Climate Change scheduled for 2015 in Paris.

Articulating his vision and the purpose of the weekend event, McKibben writes:

In an email to Common Dreams, communications director Jamie Henn indicated that planning is well underway for the event.

“An incredible coalition of groups in New York City and around the world have come together to call for this march,” Henn said. “It’s a big moment. If you were waiting on the sidelines for the historic mobilization on climate change, now is the time to get in the game.”

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The planned event, which organizers are calling the , will take place on Saturday, September 20 in New York City. According to the event’s Facebook page:

Though McKibben acknowledges in his essay that “it’s true that marching doesn’t always work,” he argues that at this moment in the climate change fight—and in addition to all the other necessary activities and strategies of the climate movement—”taking to the streets is very much necessary.”

And the point of action like this, McKibben continues, is that “sometimes you can grab the zeitgeist by the scruff of the neck and shake it a little.” Though much of the best climate work is being done in local communities, far from centers of power, he writes, sometimes large displays are not only gratifying, but necessary.

For those wishing to attend, organizers urged them to sign-up and add their voice of support here. Many, responding to the announcement, were offering their reactions on Twitter under the hashtag #peoplesclimate:

Tweets about “#peoplesclimate”