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People of the People’s Climate March

People's Climate March

Hundreds of thousands of protesters gathered in New York for the People's Climate March.

Sacha Lecca

In what's being called the biggest and most diverse climate march ever, more than 400,000 people jammed the streets of New York City yesterday in a massive show of strength ahead of tomorrow's United Nations climate summit. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon marched. So did Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo and former Vice President Al Gore. Joining them were students, veterans, nuns, First Nation members, unions and farmers. Their presence confirmed that the climate battle is no longer the burden only of environmentalists and older activists familiar with the barricades, but of everyone. The devastating effects of climate change are being felt around the world. Faced with stalled climate negotiations (and, in D.C., a House of Representatives called the most anti-environmental in history) the real fight for the planet is beginning.  "This is the most important day yet in the fight against global warming – but it is still just one day in the life of a movement," Bill McKibben tells Rolling Stone. "We will need to keep growing this fight bigger and stronger, and we will need to do it fast, since that's the speed at which the pace of climatic destruction is accelerating." Here are some of the thousands who took to the streets of Manhattan to demand action, to say no more business as usual.

People's Climate March

Nicole Fara Silver

Ashley Massey

"I study environmental conservation. Everybody says scientists are stuck in their ivory tower, but we’re screaming from the ivory tower about global warming and the climate and our politicians have chosen to ignore it. We want our grandchildren to know that people all over the world were screaming about the climate. Marches like this show governments and corporations that consumers want change. Business as usual just isn’t sustainable or acceptable."

People's Climate March

Nicole Fara Silver

Lillian House and Ryan Hamby

Lillian: "We need to tell the government that we care about the planet. I’m learning a lot about these issues at school; I didn’t grow up in an activist household. We buy local and organic and walk wherever we go. We try to raise awareness. I care enough about climate change that I’d get arrested."

Ryan: "We were just talking about oil and natural gas and the money involved. I think people everywhere are starting say, 'Maybe I should change my lifestyle.' I grew up in Colorado where my family was pretty progressive; we’d buy half a cow. Is capitalism incompatible with a healthy climate? The people sleeping outside the Apple store for the iPhone 6 are just as much of a demonstration as this. It’s the power of objects."

People's Climate March

Nicole Fara Silver

Leah Penniman

"We’re organic farmers in upstate New York. We work with young people who’ve been in foster care or in the criminal justice system. Farmers are very vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Nothing’s happening on climate because there’s no political will. We all know what’s going to happen, but there’s no incentive for doing anything about it."

People's Climate March

Nicole Fara Silver

Dereck Johnson

"I’m here because the planet is hurting and it’s avoidable. It’s the result of greed. I worked for Obama in both campaigns. I’m an empath and I read energy – I think the president’s a pawn and that the people around him are corrupt. I always feel optimistic, in spite of the reality we’re facing. We can’t beat the Koch brothers with money. What we can beat them with is sheer numbers of aware people."

People's Climate March

Nicole Fara Silver

Sister Joan Heptig

"I’m here to really try and make a statement. This is not about a country or a religion, but about the earth. The statement is that it may be too late, but you can’t give up. When you see all these people from all countries, all nations, it’s life-giving. The life we live right now, let’s live it: speak up, stand up, never stop letting people know that this is real, the end of the planet is real. Our government needs to divest itself of power. It needs to stop being beholden to oil."

People's Climate March

Nicole Fara Silver

Bree

"We lobby in Albany. We have to get big money out of politics. Everybody needs clean air and clean water. Both are impacted by the fracking they’re sneaking through."

People's Climate March

Nicole Fara Silver

Kristina Andreotta

"I was one of the people who said there’s nothing to be done about climate change. Then the students I ended up working with gave me hope. We lobby in Albany and our work intersects with climate change. A lot of our constituents are low-income communities of color drastically affected by climate change. We’re marching to put the power back in the hands of the people. We can’t wait for the government to act. We have to act. We’re working to transition New York City to 100 percent renewable energy. Carbon free, nuke free. After the march is over, we need to do three things. One: Stay connected, as there will be a lot of new networks and people will continue organizing. Two: Take individual action by investing in renewable energy – we can’t wait for society, we are society. Three: We need comprehensive campaign finance reform. To be a successful movement, the climate movement has to be a pro-democracy movement. People have to take the power."

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