Originally published at Collegiate Times on September 22, 2014 by Skyler Mueller
The Environmental Coalition joins thousands in New York to demand climate change policy
The Environmental Coalition (EC), Virginia Tech’s student organization focused on solving environmental issues, led a group of 56 students to Manhattan this past weekend to attend the People’s Climate March. The march was a worldwide rally intended to create a sense of urgency leading up to the United Nations Climate Summit on Tuesday in New York City.
Initial reports estimated that 310,000 people came to march on Sunday. Walking nearly two miles of midtown Manhattan, demonstrators marched from morning until evening. Numerous activist leaders and groups organized the rally that came to be the largest climate march ever.
The march in New York was designed to emphasize the diversity of the movement to confront climate change. Indigenous people, the groups most impacted by climate change, led the rally while numerous other communities of students, scientists and environmental organizations followed. Additionally, the New York rally was accompanied by 2,700 events in more than 150 countries around the globe.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on over 100 world leaders to gather in New York Tuesday for the Climate Summit. The Climate Summit was scheduled in preparation for the U.N. Climate Change Conference that will take place in December 2015. At this meeting, Ban Ki-moon will try to convince leaders in politics and business to adopt policies that reduce carbon emissions.
Virginia Tech students left late Friday night and arrived at Manhattan’s Fourth Universalist Society, a church that graciously offered EC housing, early Saturday morning.
In order to listen and participate in the debates that will direct the future of environmental activism, many Tech students attended the NYC Climate Convergence, an arrangement of conferences and workshops held in the two days preceding the march. Organized by multiple groups, the Climate Convergence intended to build and strengthen an environmental movement that addresses the root causes of the climate crises.
On Sunday, Virginia Tech’s representatives marched with students from other Virginia universities. United under the Virginia Student Environmental Coalition, over 700 Virginia students were able to show their support in New York City.
Students returned to Blacksburg early Monday morning feeling motivated to spread environmental changes on campus.