More than 400,000 climate activists descended on New York City on September 21 in what is officially the “largest climate march in history.”
Marchers included such notable names as the UN’s General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon, former Vice President Al Gore, Primatologist Jane Goodall, and actor and activist Leonardo DiCaprio, who was recently named a Messenger of Peace.
We were there and asked the marchers we met along the way why they were.
People we talked to hailed from around the country and the world, and represented a diverse set of organisations and causes — but they held the common belief that addressing the issue of climate change will make the world a better place.
Some people marched simply to raise awareness and encourage more action. 'I don't think there's anything really happening, and something needs to happen,' Ciara Sterbenz, 20, from New Mexico told us.
Eric Benson, 33, of New Jersey and a member of Clean Water Action told us: 'The time for climate action is now. The longer we wait, the worse it gets.' He's on the left.
'I'm not marching because I think marching changes what people do -- I'm marching because you have to start somewhere on a basic level, and a march is a good way. ...Democracy allows us to do this,' said Dan Lyles, 29, of New York.
'My mother taught me that the Earth was my other mother, so I give her that much respect,' said Laila Nur, 26, of North Carolina. She's on the right of the image below, taken with other members of band Cakalak Thunder.
'We're here to raise awareness. We want to be part of the movement and do our part to make the world a better place,' according to Enrique Castelan, 21, of New Jersey. He's on the left of the image below, with Kernimay Fenelon (center), 24, and Malaka Ejjakir, 18, both of New Jersey as well.
'I'm sick and tired of living on a planet that's very polluted, not to mention it makes me kind of angry that there are still a lot of people who are kind of ignorant and still have no idea what's going on at all. And I'm basically sick of these corporate polluters that are releasing toxic chemicals into our atmosphere and our water and endangering the health of people and wildlife,' said Josef Luftman, 26, of New Jersey.
Others marched for future generations, including Rebecca Siegel, 26, of Alaska. She said she was marching 'so my friend's two-year-old son can have a liveable planet.'
Amber Marx (third from left) is a 21-year-old Stony Brook University student. She's marching 'for those who don't have a voice.' Her fellow student Katie Gregory (second from left), 19, is marching 'for the future.'
Some people marched for very specific causes. Lili Trenkova (fifth from left), is a 32-year-old from New York and a member of CollectivelyFree.org. She was marching 'to save the planet. We're a part of the solution, and we believe if we all go vegan, methane pollution will reduce drastically.'
'There are a lot of problems trying to cope with climate change. One of the factors of that has been an uprising in genetic engineering. What they haven't tried is pushing the vegetables so far that they fight back. ...At the end, what needs to happen is a change in policy makers' attitude toward how climate change is dealt with. The solutions we have now are not solutions -- they're quick fixes that don't fix anything,' according to Thomas Bond, 22, of New York.
'I just wanted to be a person of action rather than words,' said Andrew Zinck (left), 20, of Massachusetts. He's pictured with Jesse Ross, 19.
Evan Hartig (right), 27, Jean Hartig, 33, and Nicole Hartig, 27, were at the march representing the bees of the world. Evan said: 'We're bees because colony collapse disorder is a real concern. Bees are very important to our food supply.'
'We're here on behalf of Tibetans who have no voice. In Tibet, there are lots of environmental disruptions going on,' according to Dtiondup Dolma (pictured on the right), 37, a Tibetan refugee from India. She was at the march with fellow refugees Tenzin Sangmo (center), 24 and Yangkyi Nuratsang, 22. Sangmo said: 'I stand for peace in Tibet -- peace for animals, peace for environment, peace for humans, peace for everyone.'
Janie Pochel, 28, of Illinois spoke for the rest of the Chi-Nations Youth Council, pictured here: 'We're an alternative youth council (for) arts, cultural values, activism, and education. ...We use our native values and plant our medicines and food in Chicago. That's our form of protest -- practicing our traditions and ceremonies. The kids are our leaders, and they're the ones who wanted to come out here today.'
Some people wanted to overhaul the whole system, including Bill Marston, 66, of Pennsylvania. He told us: 'My favourite sign I've seen today is 'System Change, Not Climate Change.' It makes you realise what that means. This shirt is a system. This street is a system. You don't change one thing -- you change the system.'
But at the end of the day, everyone was there to save the world. Amani Farooque, a 19-year-old student at the University of Virginia told us: 'The world as we know it will end if people don't step up and make some changes.' She's pictured on the right, here with fellow students Caitlin Levine (center), 22, and Ibby Han, 19.
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