I have never seen so many people in the same place for the same cause at the same time in my twenty four years on Earth. The #PeoplesClimate March blew my mind. In the best way possible.
My good friend and fellow 20-something environmentalist, Carrie and I made plans on my birthday to travel to New York City to participate in the People’s Climate March. I had seen a ton of social media outreach with great photos and inspiring stories encouraging people to attend. I was hopeful that the march would double the Forward on Climate March from last February and bring 100,000 concerned citizens to the Big Apple.
We arrived in New York from NJ Transit on time (for once) and found ourselves in a crowd of activists waiting for the C train to Central Park West. When we watched three trains pass full of more activists, we were excited about all of the people that had shown up. When we flooded the subway station with hundreds of other people climbing up the stairs to the City, we thought this might be big.
And then. We went. Outside. I have never seen so many people in my life.
Most of the activists were in good spirits as we waited at 72nd Street and Central Park West for the march to begin. Carrie and I looked at all of the creative signs and the diverse crowd before us as we waited to move.
We started to march and chant with all kinds of people, artists, students, families, vegans, older activists, scientists, foodies, labor unions, solar activists. It was incredible to see so many people coming together to act on climate. Marching bands kept everyone in step and dancing and smiling. The music was personally one of my favorite things about the march. Carrie and I got stopped by a lot of folks who wanted to take pictures of our signs. We took a ton of photos of other people’s signs and works of art. I was proud whenever someone shouted “Hey Jersey!” or “Yeah Jersey Girl hold up your sign!” We felt like we were among friends. Carrie and I talked to activists from New Orleans, saw a woman from Alaska, even a group from Minnesota, all out because they want their world leaders to act on climate.
The most astounding aspect of the People’s Climate March for me was the sound. An avalanche of sound would gather behind me, I could feel it, building, coming towards us, louder and louder until it arrived to where we were marching and I realized it was the sound of the hundreds of thousands of people around me cheering. I shouted and cheered, pushing the tidal wave of sound in front of me, onto the group of people leading the way.
Once Carrie and I got back to my apartment in Sea Bright, we read the headlines and found out that we were two of over 310,000 (or 400,000 depending on the source) people that rose up and joined together for climate justice. What an unbelievable feeling to be included in a crowd that was over four miles long.
The People’s Climate March made such a bold statement. Even on our way into NYC, folks saw our signs and thanked us for going and explained how important a clean energy future was to them. An older female activist said to Carrie and I with stars in her eyes that was “wonderful, just wonderful” to see so many people marching for climate change as we rolled through Times Square. We felt the same way as her and we felt hopeful.
Oh, and climate change made national news: