Joining the People’s Climate March in New York yesterday, I felt hopeful for future generations for the first time in a long time, writes Mary Robinson.
It was uplifting to see grandparents, like myself, indigenous peoples, young people, people impacted by Hurricane Sandy, young women from small island developing states, unions, congresswomen, Ministers, and Mayors, all sharing the experience. There was a fantastic range of banners and posters but they can all be summed up in two words for me – climate justice.
Yesterday’s demonstration gave me hope that people get climate justice now; we must take urgent action to protect our most vulnerable communities and we must take that action in a way that is fair.
Many of the people who marched yesterday, in New York, and indeed all around the world, have been impacted by climate change. During the press conference we heard the voices of people from the frontlines who are coping with the impacts of climate change. Many of the people who marched today are worried about the world that their children and their grandchildren will inhabit if we continue on this fossil fuel driven path.
Lots of banners highlighted the solutions that already exist and that can be scaled up dramatically if world leaders take brave decisions and set the policy direction. There are solutions that can help transform our world into one that is safe, protects human rights, and treats current and future generations fairly.
While I am hopeful, I am not so naïve to think that one climate march will be enough to change the world. I know that we have to build a social movement for climate justice that creates pressure on leaders to act. We must continue the momentum started with the People’s Climate March to show leaders that their constituents want change, to show the private sector that their consumers want choice and to show our grandchildren that we tried.
The People’s Climate March beautifully illustrated the need for climate justice. I hope decision makers act now.
Video Highlights from the 3-hour Democracy Now! Special Broadcast at Historic People’s Climate March
Mary Robinson and Tony deBrum, foreign minister of the Marshall Islands, are interviewed at 24m30s – click here to go straight to that point in the video
Women Demand Climate Justice At The People’s Climate March – WEDO, 23 September 2014
New York climate march numbers stun organisers as key summit looms – RTCC, 22 September 2014
New York Climate March: Mary Robinson and Gro Harlem Brundtland – 22 September 2014