An estimated 400,000 people stormed the streets of New York on September 21, waving posters and screaming chants, to protest climate change. The People’s Climate March, designed as an invitation to “change everything,” was the largest climate march in human history.

The protestors included over two hundred Yale undergraduates, not to mention a smattering of spirited alumni and a whole section of graduate students and staff. The Yalies announced our presence with spirited blue banners and a cheer of our own: Bulldogs! Bulldogs! Bow, wow, wow! We want climate justice and we want it now!

The march began with a moment of silence led by frontline communities, including indigenous groups who had been personally affected by fracking, mountaintop removal, and other harmful environmental policies. Many of these people had lost their homes or their loved ones to the decisions of large fossil fuel corporations. Behind banners that read, “Injustice is not an investment” they spread an earnest silence throughout the thirty blocks of New York City occupied by the protest. After the moment ended, a cheer of solidarity roared through the march as people began surging forward.

There were thousands of posters to be seen throughout the march. Don’t frack with us! If you like it, then you shouldn’t put a rig on it. There is no PLANet B. The march continued for four hours, feeding off the incredible energy of the crowd. The movement for environmental justice requires an intersection of so many fields – technology, politics, and social justice, just to name a few. Hundreds of groups worked together to make the march happen.

The purpose of the march was to make a statement to the world leaders convening at the UN Climate Summit two days later. Though many Americans already consider climate change a critical problem, our leaders have been slow to act, especially because of economic pressure from big fossil fuel corporations. This march was intended as a wake-up call for politicians – and so far, it’s been successful. At the UN Summit, President Obama revived his pledge to reduce U.S. carbon emissions 17 percent by 2020. He also acknowledged, “Our citizens keep marching. We cannot pretend we do not hear them.”

Global warming is no longer a distant threat, but one that is already changing our planet. This march reaffirmed that our generation is ready to join the fight.


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