AQ Slideshow: The People's Climate March in New York City
Photos courtesy of David Mark Erickson and Daniel Edelman.
Homepage photo by David Mark Erickson.
Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators filled the streets of New York City on Sunday to demand that world leaders take concrete steps to address climate change and its consequences. Just two days before government, business, and civil society leaders met at the UN Climate Summit at United Nations headquarters in Manhattan, the People's Climate March championed a wide range of environmental and social causes, from reducing greenhouse gas emissions through carbon taxes and investing in clean energy to banning fracking.
View a slideshow from the People's Climate March below.
The messages protesters carried were as varied as the faces in the crowd—from the straightforward "Climate Action Now," and "Go Vegan!" to emotional appeals like "Don't Betray Our Future." A woman in dramatically smeared makeup carried a hand-painted sign stating "Climate change is a hot mess." Members of the Citizens' Climate Lobby collected signatures to support a carbon tax that would encourage people to switch from fossil fuels, and college students from the New School and Bard College clustered together holding signs.
Though an estimated 300,000 to 400,000 people participated in the march, the most powerful environmental advocates were placed front and center, with Hurricane Sandy victims, labor and teachers' unions, and "regular" protesters positioned along different segments of the route. Political leaders like former Vice President Al Gore, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio joined the demonstration.
As the crowd overflowed from Central Park West onto the streets of Manhattan's Upper West Side, Larry Saunders, 72, and Irene Saunders, 62, surveyed their fellow protesters on West 72nd Street with excitement. The Saunders said they had been environmental activists for decades, ever since participating in Earth Day celebrations during the 1980s. "This is the first time since [protesting the war in] Vietnam that we've been to a march of this size," Irene said. "We're here because we have grandchildren and we want something left for them."