An estimated 400,000 demonstrators flooded the streets of Manhattan on Sunday for the People's Climate March, the largest climate change demonstration in history. Among their ranks were dozens of Ramapo students, calling upon the world to take action against the climate crisis.
“This whole event is so cool,” said Catherine Lane, a freshman. “This is such an overwhelming issue, but I really hope it raises awareness for everyone all over the world, that this effects everyone.”
The march was held just two days before the 2014 U.N. climate summit, and many participants hoped their presence would promote change.
“I just hope for something to get done for one of these movements represented here,” said Pamela Gilligan, a sophomore who attended the march with the Mahwah Environmental Volunteers Organization. “A lot of these issues overlap and are connected, it would make a difference if one of them was addressed.”
The 1STEP for Environmental Progress Club organized two buses to take students up to the city to take part in the event. Ramapo students walked with many other collegiate groups from Yale, Penn State, Princeton, Rutgers and many more.
“We want to have a lot of Ramapo people here to really encourage President Mercer that students really want to see him commit to the President’s Climate commitment, and we really want to see the college divest away from fossil fuels. So we really wanted to build a strong presence here,” said Heather Darley, a senior who helped coordinate transportation for Ramapo students to the march.
Students made T-shirts and signs that reflected issues they take particular interest in, from saving the bumble bees to water conservation. Demonstrators rang bells, yelled, participated in chants but at 12:58 p.m. the crowd went quiet for a moment of silence. At precisely 1 p.m. a tidal wave of noise rushed over the crowd; demonstrators screaming, blowing horns and banging drums to single a new dawn in the fight to end climate change.
Demonstrators from all across the globe were imploring for economic and political changes.
Danielle Corcione, a senior, hoped that the “UN will consider these actions when making their decision when they meet.”
The U.N. Climate summit was attended by 100 heads of state and government and over 800 leaders of the business and finance world. Among the delegates was President Barack Obama, who confronted the issue of climate change head-on.
“As the world’s largest economy, and the world’s second largest emitter [of pollution],” said Obama referring to the U.S., "we must bear a special responsibility.”
Obama went on to say that “for the sake of future generations, our generation must make a global compact to fight climate change today.”
The climate summit convened to address several long-term goals, among them:
- Creating a comprehensive, global vision on how to effect climate change.
- Cutting emissions in all countries and in key sectors of the economy.
- Mobilizing public and private funds to create low-carbon, climate resilient growth.
- Putting a price on carbon to spur markets to invest in climate solutions.
- Mobilizing governments, businesses and civilians to meet the full scope of climate challenge.