Dan La Botz
Posted September 19, 2023
Tens of thousands marched through the streets of New York City on Sunday, Sept. 17 hoping to pressure the world’s governments to stop climate change. Many carried signs demanding that President Joe Biden take action to stop the use of fossil fuels, and young voters said that if he doesn’t, he can’t count on their votes.
Estimated at 50,000 to 75,000, the march was diverse in every way, with people of all races, ages, and from all walks of life. There were contingents from community groups, from workers centers and labor unions, a faith contingent, a mothers’ organization, many environmental groups, and several socialist organizations. My wife Sherry and I marched for a while in the union contingent and then walked up and down the length of the great parade taking photos that showed the wide variety of people and concerns.
I was struck by a new tone in the march as demonstrated by two signs you see below. In one a member of the PSC, the union of workers at the City University of New York, holds high a sign that says, “The worst is yet to come!” while another holds a sign that reads, “No more hope just determination!” Climate activists are now well aware that preventing climate change is absolutely necessary for the survival of the planet, that change is coming faster than we expected, and that the governments of the world and the corporations are failing to stop it, because to stop it means taking on the energy companies in order to dramatically reduce and then end the use of coal and oil.
If no longer optimistic, we in the movement, have become convinced that things must change.
“We are all here for one reason: to end fossil fuels around the planet,” said Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the principal speaker at the rally held near the United Nations building where world leaders will meet this week. “And the way we create urgency is to have people around the world in the streets.”
While many in the crowd admire AOC for her progressive politics and her advocacy of a “Green New Deal,” they also know that she is supporting Biden whom they believe could do much more to stop the use of fossil fuels.
One of the marchers, with pessimistic determination, holds a sign showing a melting ice cream cone—the scoop of ice cream is the earth—melting in the sun. The sign reads, “President Biden, Time is not on our side. Declare a climate emergency.”
I particularly like the small sign held by one woman, illustrated with a painting by a Native American artist, and reading, “Please Save Our Precious Home.” We were all marching because we recognize that we cannot rely on the politicians we must save our precious home, our planet, all of its life forms, and ourselves, by forcing governments to act.