Over 700,000 people around the globe participated in climate marches and rallies in 175 countries over this past weekend. According to 350.org Executive Director May Boeve "worldwide people are ready for the end of fossil fuels and the dawn of renewables. World leaders can no longer ignore this urgent call for action as the climate crisis continues to unfold. It is time for them to stand on the right side of history.” City after city, town after town! Numbers/places include 60,000 people in Melbourne and 50,000 in London with attendees including Radiohead's Thom Yorke (he Djed the event), actress Emma Thompson, musician Charlotte Church (she performed a song about climate change) and British Parliament and Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn.
(Photo by Billie Golan)
New Paltz Climate Action Coalition sponsored its own action on Sunday. About 20 participants stood along Main Street near Trailways with signs that read things like "Paris or Perish" and "Final Climate Countdown"- the signs were upcycled from signs used for the Walkway to Paris event the coalition held in October. Passerbys were regaled with flute songs by two musicians active with Protect Orange County, an organization fighting CPV, the gas-fueled powerplant proposed for construction near Middletown. A sign that read "Honk for the Earth" got tons of responses. Dan Guenther constructed both an Eiffel Tower and a mock phone booth constructed out of cardboard and plastic planters which people could step into, read talking points and call representatives such as Senator Shumer, Rep. Gibson, Todd Stern and President Obama. SUNY New Paltz students were in attendance, including Farmers Market manager/ Vice President of Students for Sustainable Agriculture Billie Golan, who feels that "If we want real change that represents the path of environmental sustainability that us as students, community members and everyday people yearn for, grassroots mobilizing is the way to go. This action may seem small but every person that reads our sign and does their own research about the Paris talks is another ally to the cause, and supporters are everything."
New Paltz activists on Main Street, catching the tail end of holiday weekend traffic (Photo by Billie Golan)
Our neighbors to the South in Peekskill held a climate action event on Saturday, where much attention was focused on Spectra Energy's Algonquin Incremental Market Project (AIM)- a pipeline expansion to carry more fracked gas from Pennsylvania to New York and 3 other states. An especially dangerous factor is the location for the project, which is right next to Indian Point nuclear power plant. 30,000 people have signed a petition in opposition to the project, and recently, protestors have been blocking contractors from cutting down trees in the beginnings of the construction process.
Zephyr Teachout speaking in Peekskill (Photo by Andrew Courtney)
All across the planet, people gathered to take a stand for the environment. In Yemen, 70 people gathered, which was less than half the organizers were expecting. This was due to airstrikes targeting just a mile or two from the protest location. What dedication and courage those attended have! (Above photo by Avaaz)
In Paris, where large demonstrations were cancelled due to the November 13th attacks, 10,000 pairs of shoes were displayed as an installation to represent those who could not march. Pope Francis gave a pair of his shoes along with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. March organizers have denounced violence that arose with some protests there. (Photo by Patrick Aventurier/Getty Images)
20,000 people gathered in Madrid (Photo by Greenpeace Espana)
United Nations volunteers march in the Republic of Benin, where their capital city of Cotonou faces devastating flooding and erosion if sea levels continue to rise (Photo by UN Benin)
Indigenous youth kicked off Ottawa's march with music (Photo by Bill McKibben)
Bill Nye "The Science Guy" spoke in New York City at Sunday's Climate March (Photo by Andrew Savulich for NY Daily News)
It's true- we really are all connected! A young activist standing in Iowa over the weekend, where a Bakken pipeline going through 4 states is proposed. New York is also threatened by Bakken Shale oil that would go from Albany down through 6 counties, including through New Paltz, Kingston, Rosendale, Saugerties and Newburgh. (Photo by Iowa 350)
President Obama posted on facebook yesterday: "What we’re trying to do in Paris is put in place a long-term framework for further emissions reductions - targets set by each nation, but transparent enough to be verified by other nations. And we’ll work to mobilize support to help the most vulnerable countries expand clean energy and adapt to the effects of climate change we can no longer avoid." Let's hope he remembers the messages the world sent over the weekend, and chooses to leave an environmental legacy that is healing, not harmful.