by Mariah Castillo
|Hundreds of thousands of people marched through NYC|
I was coming there from Queens, and I saw people wearing shirts with logos of organizations promoting climate change policy and holding signs on the E train. By the time we got off at 53rd Street to transfer to the D train, the subway was mostly packed with Climate March goers. Many of the subway riders got off at 72nd Street-Central Park, causing a blockage going up the stairs – no one could go to the station or get out of the station for a couple minutes while dealing with the sheer volume of protesters.
Several corporations went all out, giving protesters free gifts, such as megaphones, posters, and pinwheels that looked like small wind turbines. There were leftovers freebies all over, which made me a little miffed. That same feeling rose up when I saw signs saying, “I came from (insert state here) for climate change reform!” Don’t you think it’s counter-intuitive to create pollution jetting over here to demonstrate over environmental policy? There were plenty of other (and possibly closer) marches happening with the People’s Climate March, so it’s not as if the event in New York was an isolated one.
With almost 2,700 demonstrations worldwide that weekend, I’m sure world leaders got the message. This week was the opening of the 69thGeneral Assembly of the United Nations, and celebrities, such as Leonardo Dicaprio, as well as world leaders made speeches on climate change.
It would be interesting for me to see if this march leads to solid reform on the legislative side AND on the lives of the people who marched. While I think the march had its heart in the right place, I feel that raising awareness is never enough. It did get the message through, but unless everyone in attendance is willing to change their lifestyles to be more environmentally friendly, policy makers will only view this march as sort of an isolated incident. The People’s Climate March is only the first step in getting anything done in climate change policy.
Mariah Castillo is a junior at Barnard College and Contributing Editor for The Nine Ways of Knowing
Image courtesy of Weather.com