The largest climate march in history took place Sunday in Manhattan, aimed at the world leaders arriving at the UN for a Summit on Global Climate Change to begin Tuesday, 9/23. Estimates range from 310,000 (according to the New York Times) to 600,000 (as suggested by police scanners, according to the Sierra Club). Large as it was, however, the People’s Climate March in New York was only one of numerous actions in 166 countries, from Delhi to Rio to London.
But the numbers just begin to tell the story. Marchers represented all walks of life and uncountable organizations—from vegan outreach groups with their message that the largest contributor to greenhouse gases is the raising of animals for meat; to Veterans for Peace; to Mothers out Front; to numerous environmental groups such as the Sierra Club, the Rainforest Action Network, and 350.org which calls for a reduction in carbon dioxide levels to a sustainable 350 parts per million. A special place was given to indigenous peoples, who have borne the worst impacts of climate change in their homelands.
The interfaith contingent - reported to be 10,000 strong - included, among numerous others: Hare Krishnas (who won the high-energy prize hands-down with their tireless dancing), Buddhists, Jews with many shofars, Muslims with their eye-catching inflatable mosque, and many varieties of Christians. The Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ was well represented with members of its Environmental Ministries task team as well as others. Conference Minister and President Jim Antal won a prize of his own for most colorful, covered as he was with prayer flags given to him by Oregon UCC folks. Members of Church of the Covenant, a federated UCC /PCUSA church in Boston, carried frequently photographed signs asking “What Would Jesus Divest From?” And other UCC folk were there from around the country; for example, a couple from a UCC congregation in Grand Rapids, Michigan, planned their visit to their Boston-based daughter to coincide with the march so the three of them could attend it together. Their “Wage Peace” T-shirts proudly proclaimed their UCC membership.
It was a moving, memorable time of activism and worship!
(Photo: MACUCC Minister and President Jim Antal joins Rev. Alice Hunt, President of the Chicago Theological Seminary (left), Brian Lapis (right), and thousands of others at yesterday's People's Climate March in NYC.)
Related: UCC marchers part of 400,000 advocating for climate justice (ucc.org, Sept. 23, 2014)
Did you participate in the walk? Share information on how many people from your congregation attended, and share pictures, in the comment section below!
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