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.
JILL STEIN talks about that massive, magical, mystery tour of a march in New York City this equinox Sunday, and what it means for the future of our climate.
Not just the climate of our planet in terms of temperature, pollution and emissions. But the climate of our politics, our economic justice, our relations between the races and genders, our embrace of differing sexual preferences, world views, religions, social classes (which must be abolished), corporate personhood (which is insane) and so much more.
“Obama will say lots of flowery things, but I expect them to have a little meeting in terms of action,” Rugh, one of the organizers of NYC Climate Convergence, a series of events on September 19-20 that brought together scholars, unionists, artists and activists from all over the world “to highlight the connection between climate change and capitalism, and to explore how communities around the world are building transformative alternatives to both.”
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.
Next week, world leaders will meet in New York City for a climate summit led by UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon. He’ll be urging governments to drastically lower the pollution that causes global warming, but one man can’t do it alone. That’s where we (and YOU!) come in…
One participant in the organizing meetings said, “In the beginning people were saying, ‘This is our Seattle,’” referring to the 1999 World Trade Organization ministerial that was derailed by direct action. But the paid staff got the politics-free Climate March. Another source said, “You wouldn’t see Avaaz promoting an occupy-style action. The strategic decision was made to have a big march and get as many mainstream groups on board as possible.”
Don’t miss the Closing Plenary with Naomi Kline, Jacqui Patterson, Desmond D’Sa, Olga Bautista and Chris Williams! 7pm – 9pm EST. As environmental activists pour into New York City for Sunday’s People’s Climate March, expected to be the largest climate action in history, some climate advocates will already be there participating in the NYC Climate Convergence, a conference advocating for “people, planet and peace over profit,” Sept. 19-21. EcoWatch will be livestreaming many parts of the event courtesy of @StopMotionsolo, so if you can’t get to NYC, be sure to stay-tuned to EcoWatch. Subscribing to EcoWatch’s Top News of the Day is the best way to stay connected.