An Intern’s Perspective: The People’s Climate March in NYC

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September 21, New York City- ┬áMoments that can be the most life changing tend to take you by surprise. This statement couldn’t be more accurate for my experience at The People’s Climate March in New York City. The People’s Climate March was a validating, rewarding experience that helped me to see that The Kingston Land Trust and partner organizations are not alone in their many goals for a better community and a better planet.

I traveled with almost 400 people on 7 Greyhound buses which contained students from SUNY New Paltz, members of The New Paltz Climate Action Coalition and many other citizen activists of all ages. Together we traveled to New York City donning green armbands with homemade signs addressing the issue of Climate Change.

There was a certain electricity to the air as we lined up between Central Park Avenue and 72nd Street and became surrounded by so many different marchers from all around the world in a sea of picket signs. Organizers estimated in the weeks before of an attendance of up to 100,000 people.

Dignitaries that took part in the march were former Vice President Al Gore, Jane Goodall, noted environmentalist Bill McKibben, actor Edward Norton, and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. There were many different sections the march was divided into, with Indigenous Peoples accompanied by famous actor/activists, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Mark Ruffalo. Some other sections included a multi-faith section which included Christians, Jewish,and Islamic groups and several Buddhist Monks. The march also contained many labor unions from all over the country, and according to the Huffington Post as many as 50,000 students, including locally, Bard, Vassar, and SUNY New Paltz.

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Trump International Hotel and Tower from the eyes of a marcher.

 

The marching procession swept as far forward and backward as the eye could see, with news helicopters constantly flying overhead covering the event. The streets were closed down, which was quite an interesting sight, with landmarks such as Columbus Circle, Trump International Hotel and Tower, and Radio City Music Hall surrounded by thousands of protesters, and the sound of cheering voices in place of the usual NYC sound of honking taxis and commuters.

The solidarity and unity among thousands was truly inspiring. To see so many different issues being represented by caring enthusiastic people was truly a privilege to be around. It is moments like this where the message of unanimity for a common cause reminds us of why we push toward our overall goals, both with The Kingston Land Trust and partner organizations.

On the walk to our buses wandering on 6th Avenue, a man from the march came up to me because he noticed my “People’s Climate March” poster. He said to me, “You know we made history today right? Organizers said there were over 300,000 people in attendance”. 300,000 other people who believe in the same future we are working toward.

Amanda Ruschak is the Fall 2014 intern at the Kingston Land Trust. Amanda is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations, Journalism and Sociology at SUNY New Paltz. While interning at the Kingston Land Trust, Amanda is helping with updates to our web site, communications about KLT events, and keeping our busy office running smoothly.