Largest Climate March in History

By Ella Graffin

People herded into the streets of Manhattan from all over the world on The International Day of Peace, Sunday Sept. 21, to take a stand against a complicated climate battle. Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org, called this battle “a desperate fight, but a beautiful one.”

Hundreds of protesters in New York and other cities marched on that day, demanding political action to improve conditions for the environment. People are infuriated with the U.S. and many other countries who poorly regulate carbon emissions and believe that if stronger laws and alternatives to limit emissions aren’t put in place, the ramifications for the planet and all its inhabitants will be atrocious.

This People’s Climate March was the largest of its kind totaling 400,000 people. New Paltz alone packed 11 buses. A group of activists present at the march walked for 209 days from Alaska. Their goal is to end their journey in Washington D.C.

Bill McKibben founded 350.org, which is a grassroots organization that created a global climate movement. They have organized about 20,000 demonstrations in every country except North Korea. McKibben spoke to New Paltz students, faculty and community members last Tuesday about how he considers our world to be in its biggest crisis to date.

“This is the greatest problem our world could ever face,” McKibben said. “We had the warnings, there were plenty of things we could’ve done, it’s frustrating.”

CO2 levels are rising each year, according to co2now.org. The upper safety limit for atmospheric C02 is 350 parts per million (ppm), and this past August, the total was 397.01 ppm.

McKibben thinks it’s our moral obligation as humans to make an effort to use less and stop the people in positions of power, who are making it worse.

“It’s not a normal political fight,” McKibben said.

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