The Largest Climate March in History

On September 21, Seniors Brandon Fitzpatrick, Marc Printz and Nicholas Scarsdale marched in the revolutionary People’s Climate March in New York City, advocating for global action against climate change. With an estimated 400,000 marchers, it was the largest climate march in history, according to Huffington Post.

Fitzpatrick, Printz and Scarsdale arrived in New York City on a bus from Chelsea, MA at around 12:30pm. Once they got off the bus, they rushed a few blocks to join the rest of the marchers near 86th street. From there, Fitzpatrick split off to join a group of marchers from an organization that he is a part of. Printz and Scarsdale went to meet IACS 2014 alumni Quentin Nichols and Dylan Bieber. Nichols and Bieber had taken a bus from the University of Massachusetts Amherst (where they both attend) to the march.

Fitzpatrick, Printz and Scarsdale attended the march for various reasons.

“I decided to participate because I think that the climate is changing and there needs to be action done. The [United Nations] UN has not been taking significant steps to curb [climate change],” Fitzpatrick said.

He does not believe the current political system that is in place is working to combat climate change. “The two party system flooded with corporate money in the United States leads to large oil companies having political control and influencing our government to serve their needs, not the people’s needs. The flawed UN is also not stepping in on a global scale to fix climate change. They make great recommendations and inform us year after year that our climate is changing and we must take radical steps to curb it. Yet, they make no firm international laws to achieve any of this, allowing major nations such as the United States, China and India to produce huge amounts of carbon dioxide that unproportionally affects developing nations,” he explained.

Printz went to the climate march for other reasons. He participated in the march because he said not many people have taken initiatives on problems relating to climate change. “I support the idea that we need environmental policies to help curb global climate change and help curb our carbon production,” he said.

Scarsdale participated in the march for similar reasons as Printz. “I went there to be part of a change,” he said.

Specifically, Scarsdale is upset about the pipelines companies being installed in Northern Massachusetts. “This company called Kinder Morgan with an atrocious safety and legal record is trying to put a natural gas pipeline through northern Massachusetts. They base this on a ‘need,’ but there is in fact no predicted shortage except for a very small amount for a two week period in January, which hardly validates the destruction of protected state parks, $12 billion in spending (which the taxpayers have to foot the bill for), and the risks that natural gas brings. This ‘need’ can be met with other, massively less harmful solutions–– clean energy,” he summarized.

The march started at 59th and 86th street, and ended on 11th street between 34th and 38th streets near the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. In total, it was about 4 miles long and took two hours to walk. However, because of the enormous number of marchers some people reached the end of the march’s course as others began.

The march occurred two days before the UN Climate Summit. The Summit was organized by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and consisted of a group of world leaders from various fields coming together to “catalyze climate action,” according to the Climate Summit 2014 website. The march in New York City was one of around 2646 individual events in 162 countries advocating for climate change, according to the People’s Climate March. Between all of the events, over 1,500 organizations worldwide participated.

Fitzpatrick provided a list of some of the organizations, of which included Sierra Club, Black Rose, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), Unitarian Universalists, and Greenpeace.

The People’s Climate March was a massive event, but will it make any changes? According to Printz, the march could potentially raise awareness worldwide, which could lead to further action. Many organizations, namely the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, have already promised to take action. The People’s Climate was not only huge in numbers, but it also had a wide diversity. There were all different ages, ethnicities and economical status.

“I think it was an important step in unifying the climate unit as a whole,” said Scarsdale.

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