More than 300,000 people turned out for the People's Climate March in New York City on Sunday, just days before many of the world's leaders are expected to debate environmental action at the United Nations climate summit. Early reports from event organizers are hailing the turnout as the largest climate march in history, far bigger than the Forward on Climate rally held in Washington, D.C., last year.
High-profile environmentalists including Bill McKibben, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jane Goodall and Vandana Shiva marched alongside policymakers such as senators. Sheldon Whitehouse, Bernie Sanders and Charles Schumer. More than 550 buses carried in people from around the country.
The two-mile march began at 11:30 a.m., packing Central Park West and concluding at 34th St. and 11th Ave.
“I'm here primarily for my children. I want to see the leaders of the world hear the will of the people and begin to implement 100% renewable energy for 100% of the people,” said actor Mark Ruffalo, who marched alongside an indigenous peoples group.
“The oil industry and the coal industry get to dump their waste into our public air, and it doesn't make any sense,” said Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who called for a tax on carbon.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio marched alongside Al Gore and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, and Ed Norton, Sting and “Lost” actress Evangeline Lilly also joined thee throngs. Participants came from all backgrounds — environmental activists walked next to victims of Hurricane Sandy, labor unions and religious groups.
“One of the great embarrassments in America right now is the fact that we have a major political party — it's called the Republican Party — which has rejected science, rejected what the scientific community all over the world is saying, and that is a very frightening situation,” Sanders said.