One Marcher reflects on the People’s Climate March

By: Jan BenDor, National Board Chair, Gray Panthers
Back in mid-summer, when the national Gray Panthers Issues Committee decided to sign onto the People’s Climate March as a partner, we had no idea how momentous this event would become. On Sunday, Sept. 21, I had the honor to be among 411,000 marchers from all over the world, and to join with some two dozen New York Gray Panthers Network members and supporters. Many thanks to Jack Kupferman, Gray Panthers NYC President, and to Joan Davis, for their work to organize our group. 

We made many new friends as we marched with others in the peace and justice section, to the spirited music of the Leftist Marching Band from Portsmouth NH. Onlookers cheered when they saw our Gray Panthers banner. We fielded two Gray Panthers contingents. The first kicked off at 77 Street, with Jack, Elizabeth Nolasco, Rick Sanford, Kathy Kline, Karen Kahn, me, and others from a variety of allied groups including Gray is Green. The second came in at 44th Street, with Joan Davis, Helen Hamlin, Adele Bender, Rosetta Garett, and Michelle Peppers and others from Ribbon International. To quote Jack’s report, “Throughout the March, we heard, ‘I'm glad Gray Panthers is here,’ and similar sentiments. All of us, elders and young, raising our collective voices, demand progress toward reversing climate change.

Human survival is at stake, and I am more hopeful than ever that we will reach the critical mass of unified public support to change the fatal course humans are on. But the effort to stop the burning of deadly fossil fuels will take every single one of us, pressuring constantly on our local, state, and national leaders. As speakers on the “Climate--Which Way Out?” panel on Saturday night agreed, we have less than 40 years before the earth heats to a point of no return. (You can view the Panel video of Bernie Sanders, Bill McKibben, Naomi Klein, Chris Hedges, and others at here.)

Of the thousands of creative signs and costumes at the March, my favorite was the sign with a dinosaur puppet perched on top: “We didn’t see the asteroid coming. What’s your excuse?” (pictured above).

Out of the 2,646 similar events in 162 countries, there will be a concerted movement to stay united and keep the pressure on. There is a real opportunity to see policy change at the 2015 World Climate Summit. And in many cities, there will be local action to establish municipally-owned energy utilities, such as in Portland OR and Boulder CO, which are already in the process of moving whole urban areas completely off fossil fuels and onto renewables by 2020. We can and must do this for our children and grandchildren.

You can see a wrap-up summary in print and video here

The Oceanic Preservation Society has posted video of their spectacular Climate Projection Show last Saturday night at the UN. Scroll down on the talking points page to see the beautiful 4 minute film.

Media coverage was poor on the major networks, but excellent on MSNBC, the Amy Goodman Show, and in print:

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