People’s Climate March

People’s Climate March

People everywhere!

People on Central Park Avenue, a broad street on the West Side of New York’s Central Park. People on side streets where organizations participating in the March were forming up. People on the Avenue sidewalks, moving slowly among the throngs trying to make their way north or south to join up with their organization.

A mass of people walking slowly shoulder-to-shoulder as the parade moved off.  The large video screen at Columbus Circle showing people everywhere, including many miles to the North where the crowd was densest.

People of all ages: 9 months to 90 years, happy to be participating!  Happy to be showing where they stood for the benefit of country leaders gathering at the UN Climate Change Summit the following Tuesday.

Read more…

Where is Canada’s leader?

Where is Canada’s leader?

The United Nations Climate Summit starts today. How will our political leaders react to the message of the PCM?

Some, like Canada’s Stephen Harper, will not show up at the UN Summit – a simple but effective strategy that avoids awkward questions from the media at this politically sensitive time.

One excuse that will be advanced for Harper’s absence is that other heads of state, representing countries such as India and China, are not attending. These countries will be represented at the summit: the Chinese Deputy Premier will attend while India will be represented by its Minister of the Environment. A spokesperson for the US Government observed that these individuals are the most influential figures on climate change issues in their country.

Contrast that situation with Canada, which will be represented by its Minister of the Environment,  Leona Aglukkaq. Nothing this Minister has said suggests she regards climate change as a problem. Nothing she has said confirms Canada will take new measures to curb GHG emissions.

Read more…

Why are we marching in New York?

Why are we marching in New York?

Why? Because our grandchildren’s future is at stake and thousands of people from all over North America are sending a message to world leaders. At least five chartered buses are travelling  from Toronto alone. The March starts at Central Park and world leaders in the General Assembly of the nearby United Nations headquarters will, we hope, take note of this outpouring over the climate crisis. We know that Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will urge leaders to take greater action than we did to defeat the Nazis in World War II.

We will be joined in New York by James Hansen, former head of NASA’s Goddard Institute, and author of Storms of My Grandchildren, along with a dozen of our grandparent friends from Norway. Bill McKibben, who started  <350.org>  (the organizers of the march) and James Hansen have been champions of the battle to bring about clean energy. And battle it has been. The Bush Administration even cut out parts of Hansen’s early report before releasing it !

Nonetheless, like other grandparents, my wife and I are looking forward to a positive future for all grandchildren. And the march on Sept. 21st could be the start of a quiet revolution as all of us begin to comprehend what the space travellers have told us for years: there is only one fragile, jewel of a planet and we have the responsibility to care for it, not poison it or exploit it.

Read more…