Tuesday, December 09, 2014

People's Climate March, Part 4: Videos, photos of the People's Climate March -- 400,000 strong

By Michele Bourdieu 

[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.
The People's Climate March on Sept. 21, 2014, begins at Columbus Circle, near Central Park, in New York City. Eventually the participants will number about 400,000 -- much more than anticipated. A giant "Madre Tierra" (Mother Earth) heads down Central Park West toward Columbus Circle, followed by a peace and justice group chanting in Spanish, "El pueblo, unido, jamás será vencido!" (The people, united, shall never be defeated!) (Video by Allan Baker and Keweenaw Now)

Heading toward Columbus Circle from Central Park West, indigenous groups in colorful regalia are among the leaders of the People's Climate March, followed by a giant sculpture representing "Madre Tierra" (Mother Earth). Representatives of the Climate Justice Alliance follow, chanting for clean air and clean water. (Video by Keweenaw Now)

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:

A visitor from the UK and two students from Michigan tell why they're at the People's Climate March. (Video by Keweenaw Now)

Another presence from Michigan spotted in the crowd: Marchers carry signs against fracking. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

Marchers' signs, banners and chants call attention to climate justice -- from Peru to New York City neighborhoods affected by Super Storm Sandy. A cheer goes up from the crowd when they see themselves on the large video screen facing Central Park West. (Video by Allan Baker and Keweenaw Now)

At Columbus Circle, a lively New Orleans-style jazz band adds to the excited atmosphere of the People's Climate March and hundreds of union representatives with their signs speak out for action on climate change. (Video by Allan Baker for Keweenaw Now)

Photos of people marching in other cities around the world are projected on a large screen so the marchers can be aware of international solidarity about climate change. (Video 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:

Phil Aroneanu of 350.org, one of the organizers of the People's Climate March, comments on the turnout and the importance of the event. Clara Vondrich, originally from Virginia and now living in New York City, explains her reasons for supporting the march. (Video by Keweenaw Now)

From "We Shall Overcome" to lively klezmer, various musical rhythms and chants set the pace of the marchers. (Video by Keweenaw Now and Allan Baker)

Groups of young people call for change to fight the climate crisis. Students ask their universities to divest from fossil fuels. (Video by Keweenaw Now and Allan Baker)

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:

After a moment of silence, the People's Climate marchers let out a giant roar of enthusiasm -- heard around the world. (Video by Allan Baker) 

At Columbus Circle, following a float resembling Noah's Ark, thousands of marchers from a variety of religious groups chant and display their signs and banners. (Video by Allan Baker)

Participants from Canada join others in protesting tar sands and their effect on climate change. (Video by Keweenaw Now)

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"

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