People’s Climate March – for our common future

19th September 2014 - by Ellen Teague

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On 23 September, 120 world leaders – including Prime Minister David Cameron – will meet for an historic climate change summit in New York.


United Nations Chief Ban Ki Moon invited the leaders to help accelerate progress on climate action. “I expect each country to put forth a clear vision of placing the world on a trajectory to keep temperature rise within 2 degrees Centigrade”, said Ban, “and to confirm support for a meeting in Paris next year intended to reach an agreement on how to achieve that vision”. The leaders are also expected to confirm their commitment to deliver a first draft of that agreement at a December meeting in Lima, Peru.

In advance of the summit, millions worldwide will march on 21 September to call for strong action at the meeting. In fact, the UN itself is even planning to open the climate summit with photos and video from the global marches!

The march organised in New York aims to be the biggest climate demonstration the US has ever seen, and one marcher will be Ban Ki Moon himself! “I will link arms with those marching for climate action,” Ban has said; “we stand with them on the right side of this key issue for our common future”. He has also named actor Leonardo DiCaprio, well-known for his activism around environmental issues, as a UN Messenger of Peace, with a special focus on climate change and he will be speaking at the summit. Columban JPIC will be well represented too!

In addition, over 900 solidarity events are planned globally on the same weekend in the US. Global leaders are being urged to stand up to the fossil fuel corporations which are lobbying against significant action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The climate summit is happening at a time of more extreme weather events, such as floods currently sweeping across India and Pakistan. Despite doing the least to cause it, poor people are experiencing the full force of climate change. David Cameron and other world leaders are being urged to lead by example at these talks on 23 September. It could be a moment to pledge the UK’s fair share of at least $1 billion to the Green Climate Fund, and Cameron could encourage the other world leaders to join with him in laying the foundations for a fair, ambitious and legally binding global climate deal in 2015.

People’s Climate March in London

In Britain, marchers on Sunday 21 September intend to leave Prime Minister David Cameron and other politicians in no doubt that there is a popular drive for greater political will regarding Climate Change action. Up and down the UK, MPs and party leaders have been hearing calls to put action on climate change at the heart of party manifestos for next year’s General Election.

The biggest march will be in London. The Climate Coalition, which has helped organise the march, includes CAFOD, Christian Aid, Operation Noah, Christian Ecology Link and Columban JPIC (Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation). Columban JPIC workers will be there!

11am Anglican church service at St Mary Le Strand
12.15pm Multi-faith gathering in Victoria Embankment Gardens
12.30 Marchers gather at Temple Place WC2
1.00 Main march sets off from Temple.
1.45-2.45pm – Rally in Parliament Square, Westminster, and a mass photo-call outside the Houses of Parliament.

People’s Climate March Manchester

Start – 11am Piccadilly Gardens,
Frack Free Greater Manchester and the Greater Manchester Association of Trades Union Councils and others have organised a march through the centre of Manchester, focusing on the Labour Party Conference.

People’s Climate March and Gathering in Edinburgh and Glasgow

Starts 1:30pm on Sunday 21st September with a picnic in the gardens next to The Mound, weather permitting. The march itself starts at 2.30pm regardless of weather, there will be some singing you are invited to join in with and will end at 4.30pm.

A gathering will take place in George Square in Glasgow at 12.30pm.

Sheffield Rivers Rally

A creative action in Sheffield will link with the People’s Climate March in New York. People will walk along Sheffield’s rivers, rallying at the Town Hall to show support for urgent climate action to city leaders and the UN summit. The river walks will gather at 1pm and the rally at the town hall will be at 3pm.

Gloucestershire Climate March

Starting at 12pm, The Subscription Rooms, Stroud. The walk will be from The Subscription Rooms towards a rally and picnic in Rodborough: 1.5 km steep walk uphill! Walkers will be calling on local government to commit to 100% clean energy and sharing the science around climate change

Dudley – Climate: Action Not Words

Family event in Priory Park Pavillion and surrounding park land.(2pm-4pm) Including the sending of a message to act now to leaders meeting in New York via a group photo @3pm. A 100% fossil free petition to Local Government will be delivered.

A prayer from Archbishop Desmond Tutu:

Creator God
You have called us to be keepers of your Earth;
Through greed, we have established an economy that destroys the web of life.
We have changed our climate and drown in despair.
Let oceans of justice flow,
May we learn to sustain and renew the life of our Mother Earth.
As they gather in New York City at the climate talks
May they negotiate with wisdom and fairness,
May they act with compassion and courage,
and lead us in the path of justice for the sake of our children and our children’s children.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Faith communities worldwide are encouraged to offer this prayer on Sunday 21 September.