With a busy week behind you and the weekend within reach, there’s no shame in taking things a bit easy on Friday afternoon. With this in mind, every Friday TriplePundit will give you a fun, easy read on a topic you care about. So, take a break from those endless email threads, and spend five minutes catching up on the latest trends in sustainability and business.
On Sunday, more than 100,000 people and 1,400 businesses, schools and other organizations will take to the streets of New York City for the People’s Climate March. It’s being billed as “the largest climate march in history.”
You’ve probably seen some details about the march buzzing around your favorite newsfeed, but in case there are any unanswered questions, we’re here to help. To get you in the sign-waving mood, here are five things you need to know about the People’s Climate March before it kicks off on Sunday.
1. Why they’re marching
The core unifying slogan of the march is, “Action. Not Words.” It seems fitting, as protesters plan to gather on Sunday with the aim of inspiring global leaders to take significant action to address climate change.
But, as Jenny Marienau of 350.org put it in a recent interview with the Bard Center for Environmental Policy, that isn’t all the march is about. It’s also an opportunity for solidarity among citizens and organizations that see climate action as a priority:
“The People’s Climate March was planned as a way to take advantage of that national stage to demonstrate the power of the climate movement,” Marienau said. “We tried to bring together all of the different constituencies involved, to flex the climate movement’s muscle and let it see itself all together, marching in the street.”
2. Who’s participating
The march is expected to gather more than 100,000 people and 1,400 businesses and other groups. A number of celebrities, ranging from Prince Albert II of Monaco to actors like Willem Dafoe, Susan Sarandon and Brad Pitt, will also join the ranks at the march this weekend to show their support for climate action.
Much like the ‘Occupy’ protests, the People’s Climate March has no sole organizer. Several different bodies collaborated on the march, including local New York-area community groups, international NGOs, grassroots networks, churches and faith organizations, and many more. (Click here for a full list of participating organizations.) Some, like Patagonia, are taking things a step further: The outdoor apparel company will close all of its New York City stores on Sunday in support of the march.
3. The timing isn’t random
On Sunday, more than 100,000 people will take to the streets of New York City, but the timing of the march isn’t random.
On Tuesday, Sept. 23, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is hosting a climate change summit for political leaders in New York City. It will be the most high-profile, global moment focused on climate change in years — making this weekend the perfect opportunity for stakeholders to make their voices heard.
Next week’s climate meeting is the beginning of a series of summits aimed at solving some of the world’s most pressing challenges. In September 2015, politicians and delegates will reconvene in New York to agree on the definite to-do list for ending poverty worldwide – an impossible task without addressing climate change, which threatens essentials like water, food, shelter and safety, Climate March organizers say. A global action plan on climate change is then due in Paris three months later.
4. You can participate from all over the world
While the main mobilization will take place in New York, solidarity events are planned for more than 100 locations around the world. Even smaller events, designed to reinforce the global nature of concern, have sprung up in cities on every continent. Click here to find an event near you.
5. Or hitch a ride
If you’ll be in the U.S. this weekend, you can likely hitch a ride to New York for the People’s Climate March. Event organizers have compiled a list of available buses, trains, rideboards and creative group transit ideas for nearly every state in the nation. Click here to find resources near you. (You can also coordinate a bus in your community.)
6. This isn’t the first event
The People’s Climate March may have just popped up on your radar over the past few weeks, but mobilization started much earlier. Events kicked off on August 23 with a human chain in the Lausitz region, near the German-Polish border, to spur the energy revolution and a future without brown coal. Other events included Sweden Fossil Free Weekend the Pacific Climate Warrior Voyage, which aims to block the world’s largest coal port.
7. You can still sign up to volunteer
Think it’s too late to volunteer in New York this weekend? Fuhgettaboutit! The People’s Climate March is still gladly accepting volunteers. If you live in the New York area, click here for more details about manning phone banks or volunteering on the day of the march. Please note that since things are bound to get hectic on march day, volunteers will need to attend a short training in advance (the last training is offered on Saturday, Sept. 20).
If you live outside the area, one of the best things you can do to help out is to organize a bus in your local neighborhood and invite friends and neighbors to take part. Click here for details about becoming a bus captain.
The People’s Climate March will be largest unified gathering in support of climate change action to date. While one protest may not turn the tides, it’s an unparralled opportunity for concerned citizens, businesses and other stakeholders to make their voices heard. So, gather up those megaphones and protest signs, and we’ll see you at the march!
Image credit: People’s Climate March. Click here for more shareable graphics.
Based in Philadelphia, Mary Mazzoni is a senior editor at TriplePundit. She is also a freelance journalist who frequently writes about sustainability, corporate social responsibility and clean tech. Her work has appeared in the Philadelphia Daily News, the Huffington Post, Sustainable Brands, Earth911 and the Daily Meal. You can follow her on Twitter @mary_mazzoni.