Manhattan’s flood of green protesters had climate-change skeptics seeing red Sunday on 21st of September 2014.
“Their love for the Earth is so real, they couldn’t even use a trash can,” tweeted a disgusted @chelsea_elisa, along with a photo of an overflowing trash can in Manhattan, after tens of thousands of marchers invaded the city on fleets of smog-producing buses.
Legions of demonstrators frustrated by international inaction on global warming descended on New York City on Sunday, marching through the heart of Manhattan with a message of alarm for world leaders set to gather this week at the United Nations for a summit meeting on climate change.
Coursing through Midtown, from Columbus Circle to Times Square and the Far West Side, the People’s Climate March was a spectacle even for a city known for doing things big, and it was joined, in solidarity, by demonstrations on Sunday across the globe, from Paris to Papua New Guinea.
“I’m here because I really feel that every major social movement in this country has come when people get together,” said Carol Sutton of Norwalk, Conn., the president of a teachers’ union. “It begins in the streets.”
From as close as the Bronx and as far as at least Rome, the demonstrators came in vast numbers. At one point early in the afternoon, the march came to a halt because the entire 2.2-mile route was full, and more than two hours into the procession, people were still setting out from the starting point near Columbus Circle.
Organizers, using data provided by 35 crowd spotters and analyzed by a mathematician from Carnegie Mellon University, estimated that 311,000 people marched the route.The signs that marchers held were as varied as the movement: “There Is No Planet B,” “Forests Not for Sale” and “Jobs, Justice, Clean Energy.”
The diversity of the demonstrators made for some odd juxtapositions. On West 58th Street, the minaret of an inflatable mosque bobbed next to a wooden replica of Noah’s Ark the size of a school bus. Nearby, Capuchin Franciscan monks in flowing brown robes, who were in town from Rome for the march, mingled with nuns, while a group flying a pagan flag beat a drum.
The march attracted leading lights in the environmental movement, most notably former Vice President Al Gore. It drew the secretary general of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, who will preside over this week’s United Nations climate summit meeting. And it included Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York, fresh off his announcement that he was committing the city to an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gases by 2050.
But it was mostly an event for concerned ordinary people, many of them veterans of climate change efforts, others relative newcomers.