The People’s Climate March issues a global warning

In the last few days, thousands have joined global street protests demanding urgent action on climate change, with marches reported in over 2,000 locations worldwide. Known as “The People’s Climate March,” the campaign aims to curb carbon emissions and alert world leaders who are set to gather this week at the United Nations for a summit meeting on climate change.

On Sunday, more than 300,000 people marched through the streets of New York City in what organizers are calling the largest climate-change demonstration in history. Even for a city known for spectacles, the “People’s Climate March” in New York was the largest of the global demonstrations that took place in about 160 other countries.

There is no ‘Plan B,’ because we do not have a ‘Planet B.’

The march in Manhattan attracted notable figures in the environmental movement, including former Vice President Al Gore, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, and UN Secretary General Ban-ki Moon. Besides the participation of other politicians and celebrities such as Leonardo DiCaprio and Sting, the organizers of the event have created a big tent to showcase the relevance of climate change and its effects. With this goal, the weekend march became a self-consciously inclusive event that heralded diverse masses of concerned people from scientists holding up chalkboards to direct victims of climate change, such as those who lost their homes in Hurricane Sandy. This diversity followed the event’s goal of transforming climate change “from an environmental concern to an ‘everybody issue.’” While holding up signs as varied as “There Is No Planet B,” “Forests Not for Sale” and “Jobs, Justice, Clean Energy,” the passionate marchers shared one aim: to change how governments were handling climate change.

A few blocks away from the march, US Secretary of State John Kerry held a meeting of foreign ministers of the Major Economies Forum focused on climate change, intending to keep a focus on the issue throughout the week despite other prominent global crises such as insurgent terrorists in Syria and Iraq, and the Ebola outbreak in western Africa. Kerry told reporters, “The grave threat the climate change poses warrants a prominent position on that list. Those are immediate. But this has even greater, longer-term consequences that can cost hundreds of billions, trillions of dollars, and lives, and the security of the world.”

The UN Climate Summit meeting on Tuesday included speeches intended to draw more support for addressing climate change, although the gathering of world leaders is not supposed to be a formal meeting regarding a potential 2015 agreement. The pressing issue of global warming that has been overlooked for years is finally drawing more attention than it has before, just as climate change becomes more and more daunting: Meteorologists at the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration announced last week that the recent months of June, July and August were the hottest on record for the globe, and that 2014 is on track to break the record for the hottest year. It is uncertain whether all the media attention that the cause has received recently will have a long-term effect, but there is no doubt that something must be changed, and fast. As stated by UN Secretary General Ban-ki Moon, “This is the planet where our subsequent generations will live. There is no ‘Plan B,’ because we do not have a ‘Planet B.’”