|The World Calls for Strong Climate Action
Hundreds of thousands march in New York City and worldwide ahead of United Nations Climate Change Summit
Sept. 23, 2014
Joined by government leaders and celebrities, hundreds of thousands of concerned citizens in New York City, USA and across the globe took to the streets in possibly the largest climate demonstration in history on Sunday, September 21. The People’s Climate March movement was held two days before the United Nations Climate Change Summit in New York as a call for world leaders to pledge stronger measures on global warming.
People’s Climate March in New York, City: (from right) French Ecology Minister Ségolène Royal, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, former US Vice President Al Gore (vegan), renowned primatologist Jane Goodall, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius
March for the planet
In New York City, as many as 400,000 people rallied through the streets of Manhattan as part of the People’s Climate March. Prominent participants were United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who presided over the summit, former US Vice President and vegan Al Gore, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, French Ecology Minister Ségolène Royal, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Christiana Figueres, and renowned primatologist and UN Messenger of Peace Jane Goodall.
Hollywood actors Leonardo DiCaprio, Evangeline Lilly, Edward Norton, and Mark Ruffalo, as well as British singer-songwriter Sting, also marched.
The participants showed a remarkable diversity. Among them were indigenous groups, well-known environmentalists and scientists, college students, children and seniors, as well as activists from overseas.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told reporters at the march, “This is the planet where our subsequent generations will live. There is no ‘Plan B’ because we do not have ‘Planet B’.”
Actress Evangeline Lilly told the New York Daily News that she was marching for “my child, my family, and for everyone who has the great privilege of living on this beautiful planet of ours.”
The Supreme Master Ching Hai International Association was among the hundreds of organizations that participated. Our Association members, joining in from New York, New Jersey, Boston, Houston, Los Angeles, Hawaii and other US states, as well as South Korea, handed out 6,000 vegan sandwiches and vegan cookies along with information about the vegan solution to climate change. This was to raise awareness on the crucial fact that meat production is the primary cause of global warming and that a collective switch to a vegan diet would be the most pragmatic and immediately beneficial action. A study published by the Worldwatch Institute found that the meat industry is the single largest cause of human-induced global warming. According to a Greenpeace report, animal raising also accounts for at least 80% of the Amazon region’s deforestation, itself a major factor in climate change.
Around the globe
Coinciding with the march in New York, a rally was held in London, UK with some 40,000 people, including actress Emma Thompson and musician Peter Gabriel. Some demonstrators were wearing animal costumes to make the important point that not only humans but also animals are suffering due to the effects of climate change.
Ms. Thompson stated, “Every single person on this Earth has the power to change the world. And when we all come together, our power becomes irresistible. Now we must use our power to tackle the biggest threat humanity has ever faced.”
An estimated 30,000 people marched in Melbourne, Australia, citing concerns of facing more bushfires and droughts intensified by global warming.
It has also been reported that 25,000 marched in Paris, France, while 15,000 came together in Berlin, Germany.
These demonstrations were among more than 2,500 events reportedly attended by some 600,000 people in over 150 countries including Italy, Bulgaria, Colombia, Brazil, India, Afghanistan, Turkey, Egypt, Tanzania, Formosa (Taiwan), South Korea, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, and Indonesia.
The largest summit of its kind
Approximately 120 presidents and prime ministers attended the one-day summit on Tuesday to help add momentum for the UN Climate Change Conference scheduled in December. It was the largest number of world leaders to have ever attended a climate conference. US President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron, and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff were speakers at the summit.
Supreme Master Ching Hai, who has always called for protecting the planet, stated the following in a videoconference in Los Angeles, USA on May 29, 2014: “We have to take care of this planet as much as possible. Otherwise, the next generation will have nowhere to go. We have the duty to do that. And I hope all the people, including the government, hurry up with all the programs to save the planet. Time is precious.”
Our salute to all involved around the globe for your powerful display of solidarity through the marches as you further raised awareness about the urgency of climate change. We are grateful to Supreme Master Ching Hai for her loving concern for our earth and all her inhabitants. With appreciation for the government leaders at the summit, we pray for your success in quickly carrying out bold and effective solutions to restore our planet for future generations.