[Editor's Note: This is the fourth in our series of articles about the People's Climate March in New York City and related events.*]
Lined up on Central Park West, indigenous groups -- among the "Frontline" marchers at the head of the People's Climate March -- wait for the march to begin on Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)
NEW YORK, NY -- It was an amazing display of diversity: A multitude of people of all ages and of many different cultures, races, religions and languages -- 400,000 strong and united in their message to the world -- offered that message peacefully on signs, sculptures and banners and in chants, song and dance: Climate change is real and we all need to do something about it NOW!
Large crowds converge in an orderly, peaceful demonstration at Columbus Circle, where the march begins. (Photo by Allan Baker for Keweenaw Now)
The People's Climate March on Sunday, Sept. 21, began at Columbus Circle, near Central Park in New York City, and Keweenaw Now's two video cameras caught much of the action during the four hours of the march. Allan Baker (right inset) and his wife, Shirley Galbraith (at left, below, joining a group of Unitarian participants), captured the crowds that convened at Columbus Circle.
Meanwhile Keweenaw Now's editor found a spot along Central Park West, in view of the giant video screen where marchers cheered as they watched themselves on camera or caught a glimpse of climate marches in other parts of the world -- from Kathmandu to Rio de Janeiro -- all concerned about climate justice and the survival of Mother Earth and humanity's future generations.
During the march, Keweenaw Now asked some enthusiastic visitors why they were attending the march. A couple from the United Kingdom, who wished to remain anonymous, said they just happened to come upon the march on their way to visit Central Park. Two students from Michigan -- Charlie Thatch of Traverse City, a Washtenaw Community College student of business and music production, and Matt Blain of Troy, a University of Michigan graduate student in urban planning and public policy, offered brief comments:
Another presence from Michigan spotted in the crowd: Marchers carry signs against fracking. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)
Phil Aroneanu of 350.org, one of the organizers of the People's Climate March, addressed Keweenaw Now readers in our brief interview. Standing near him, leading the marchers in chants, was Clara Vondrich, originally from McLean, Va., and now a New York resident working for Fenton, a social change communication firm. Both were excited about the tremendous turnout:
While thousands of young people marched for their future at this event, senior citizens also joined them -- concerned about their children's and their grandchildren's future.
At Columbus Circle, senior citizens march together with signs and banners announcing their concern for future generations. (Photo by Allan Baker)
One of those seniors, Elsbeth Reimann, 80, a New Yorker originally from Switzerland, struck up a conversation -- in French and in English -- with Keweenaw Now's editor.
Reimann said she had recently returned from Washington, D.C., where she was lobbying for food banks in New York City and also in the rest of the country.
Elsbeth Reimann, watching the march from a bench near Central Park, commented on her concerns about food and hunger. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)
"Regardless of age or where we live, hunger is increasing," she said. "I'm very concerned for the future -- for the young people. It's so important that people wake up."
Reimann, who came to the U.S. in 1967, said she likes living in New York because it's made up of people from all over the world.
"People need to speak with each other and not at each other, so you keep learning," she noted. "It's fascinating!"
Like Elsbeth Reimann, these marchers expressed concerns about food justice -- and the importance of growing local, natural food. (Photo by Allan Baker)
Hector and Gladys Rubio, a retired couple from Guayaquil, Ecuador, were on their way to visit the Natural History Museum in New York during a visit with their daughter, who lives in New Jersey, and were happy to discover the People's Climate March.
"Thumbs up!" Visitors Hector and Gladys Rubio of Guayaquil, Ecuador, said they thought the People's Climate March was a great event. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)
At one point during the march, young and old stopped their chants and paused for a moment of silence and unity -- announced on the large video screen:
Marchers pause for a moment of silence to honor victims and survivors of climate change. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)
After the silence, roars and cheers of unity spread through the crowd:
Among the Canadian marchers was this Greenpeace group from Victoria, B.C., who paused for a photo. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)
Editor's Notes: Watch for more of our photos of the People's Climate March, coming soon in a new slide show.
* See our three previous articles related to this event:
"People's Climate March, Part 1, Letter: Houghton couple travel to New York to march for planet's future"
"People's Climate March, Part 2: Video Report: Riding People's Climate Train to New York"
"People's Climate March, Part 3: Home front action -- local art students create People's Climate March posters"