Naomi Klein, best-selling author of “The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism”, spoke to a standing-room-only crowd at the NYC Climate Convergence closing plenary on September 20th about the challenges and opportunities facing the movement for people, planet and peace over profit.
The Global Climate Convergence with its more than one hundred workshops, its large plenary sessions, and its miles-long mass march of more than 300,000 people, the largest climate protest in American history, represents a turning point for the environmental movement. The gigantic and passionate parade of indigenous people, ethnic groups of all sorts from everywhere in the country, students by the tens of thousands, neighborhood organizations by the dozen, several major national labor unions, and every conceivable sort of ecological cause tramping through New York City carrying huge banners and giant puppets, striding and dancing to the tunes of 29 marching bands, put the issue of the environment and climate change on the national agenda as never before. The national climate movement has arrived—now what will it do?
The largest environmental march ever brought hundreds of thousands into New York City streets, but the People’s Climate Watch was mostly ignored by the media. As was its companion action, Flood Wall Street, which targeted corporations behind climate instability with civil disobedience. Is the people’s voice on climate change being ignored by the corporate media, just as it’s been ignored by corporate-backed governments? We’ll speak with Anne Petermann, director of the Global Justice Ecology Project and the Climate Connections blog.
The summit convened by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, which served as the inspiration for the People’s Climate March and Flood Wall Street, occurred ahead of conferences scheduled for Lima in December and Paris in 2015, where new long-term agreements for reducing greenhouse gas emissions will be hammered out. If we are to believe 98 percent of the world’s scientists, the future of human subsistence on this planet hinges on the strength of the pacts world governments will forge. Precious time will tell what the lasting impacts of the demonstrations will be, but already the protests that shook New York and much of the world (there were over 2,000 People’s Climate Marches globally) appear to have left their mark upon upper echelon spheres of power.
While the media focused on the spectacle of 400,000-plus bodies jammed along Central Park West as far as the eye could see, it was the networking that took place between all these grassroots groups and the connections made at events leading up to the march that gave it its real power.
Scores of workshops and gatherings were held in East Village community gardens and other parts of Lower Manhattan as part of the New York City Climate Convergence — which coincided with the annual Lower East Side Harvest festival — creating a synergy of art, music and activism that I haven’t experienced here for some time.
HUNDREDS OF thousands of people–some estimates ranged above 300,000–gathered in New York City September 21 to protest government inaction on climate change, ahead of a United Nations climate summit held two days later….The day before, some 2,500 people attended the Climate Convergence, a day of plenary discussions and workshops that linked the fight for climate justice with the struggles against capitalism, colonialism and racism. Author Naomi Klein, whose book This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate has just been published, spoke to 800 people there.
With a display of the full-throated, unabashedly leftist critique usually absent from American policy discussions, the NYC Climate Convergence conference kicked off last night at St. Peter’s Church in Midtown Manhattan with a diverse lineup of speakers who all sought to reframe climate change as a social justice issue. Through the two hours of talks — which often prompted prolonged applause from the more than 300 attendees in the hall and a video overflow room — ran a deceptively simple theme: “System change, not climate change.”
Five Saint Mary’s students and one professor boarded the Amtrak shortly after midnight on Friday to join more than 300,000 people in New York City for the People’s Climate March. After a 20-hour train ride, the women met up with five more Saint Mary’s students who traveled by car or by plane to attend Climate Convergence workshops hosted throughout Manhattan.
About 400,000 people went to the streets on September 21st to ask for real actions to address climate change. It was the greatest climate march in history. The UN Climate Summit organized by Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon took place two days later with the participation of 100 heads of state and 800 leaders from business. How did this Summit react to the demands of the peoples climate march? Did it meet the expectations?