Most of you have probably heard about the People’s Climate March in NYC and across the globe on September 21st. Over 800 supporting groups are using their collective resources to pull it together, and tens of thousands of people from different backgrounds are expected to rally in NYC for the largest climate march in history. People across the world have planned solidarity events in over 2700 locations. When I first heard about the march a few months ago, I was very excited, and knew I would find a way to be there- ideally with many of my good friends working on divestment and other climate justice campaigns.
So why is this massive mobilization so critical? As a society, we’re largely ignoring the laws of science that govern our climate and planet; there are natural limits that we're on our way to breaking (or have sadly already broken) and that is unacceptable. We can't plead ignorance or uncertainly any longer; the overwhelming scientific consensus is that our green house gas emissions are responsible for the increasing imbalance in the natural cycles that normally regulate our climate. Our policies and practices need to evolve to reflect our improved understanding of the earth’s systems- right now both are lagging behind the necessary environmental standard.
I am working towards living more sustainably to reduce my own ecological footprint, but I know that individual actions are near pointless if you don't back them up with efforts to produce change at the societal level. As much as I love my bike and the work that my worms do in my vermicomposter, they're not going to solve the climate crisis alone. Although humans created the problem, we also have the collective power and knowledge to solve it. It is absolutely necessary that we shift away from fossil fuels and towards a low-carbon future immediately, and to do this, we need to use a variety of tactics to put strategic pressure on the system, particularly key decision-makers.
That's why I'm working with Divest McGill, and that's why we’re bringing our friends with us down to NYC. By extending a personal invitation to international leaders for a climate summit aimed towards mobilizing action (and pledging to march himself), UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has set the stage for a powerful statement; both by grassroots organizers and the politicians who will hear our amplified voices. On September 21st, we’ll show international leaders that we the people support decisive, effective and immediate climate action. We all need to take responsibility to be part of the solution, and build a beautiful, diverse and bold climate movement. I encourage you to get engaged however you can; it's not an exaggeration to say that our future depends on it.
Love and hope,
Kristen Perry, Divest McGill Organizer and Environmental Science student at McGill University