Has the time for action on climate change finally come? That’s what protesters around the globe are hoping. Over 310,000 people took to the streets in New York City on Sunday, according to the march’s organizers. They’re calling it the largest climate march ever.
There were life-long activists and people who had never joined a protest before. Their list of concerns was long and varied, but the targets were mostly clear: the politicians and companies who marchers want to press to take action on global warming ahead of a climate change summit at the United Nations on Tuesday.
“Corporations generally don’t care about the environment,” said Benjamin Breitkreuz, a retired clergyman. “Theirs is a profit motive.” He came from New Jersey, carrying a sign that read “corporations are killing our planet.”
Over 1,500 organizations partnered in the march, including labor unions that pledged to use their organizing power to push for environmental causes.
“We need to send a clear message to the governments and the corporations that the people of the world aren’t going to stand for this,” said New York train operator and union member Josh Fraidstern. “We’re not going to let them poison us; we’re not going to let them destroy our future.”
But many people simply came on their own or with their families, hoping their numbers would raise awareness.
“Really, America needs to lead,” said Lu Petrie, who came up from Virginia for the march with her husband and son. “It’s so embarrassing that America isn’t leading on this issue.”
She said she hoped the high turnout would help raise awareness. She’ll also be looking to the UN this week to see whether world leaders have recognized that climate change is an issue people are willing to fight for.