As 310,000 marchers wound their way through the streets of New York City at the People’s Climate March (the biggest environmental march in history), Oakland rallied in solidarity. Several thousand people gathered at Lake Merritt to walk and share ideas of what it will take to save the planet.

See our Storify of Oaklanders’ social media from the New York People’s Climate March here.

In Oakland, students, environmentalists, clergy, social justice activists, spoken-word poets, nurses, teachers, parents and educators marched around the lake and then took to a stage set up on the west end of Lake Merritt to warn of the dangers of inaction in the face of climate change.

climateOHS“We are facing the greatest threat that humanity has ever faced — literally threatening our own extinction. In fact, the ecological and climate crisis is the greatest social justice struggle of our time, and it touches every facet of our lives,” said Colin Miller, coordinator of the Oakland Climate Action Coalition and a program manager at Bay Localize and the Local Clean Energy Alliance.

Oakland High School students (above) studying environmental science displayed an exhibit showing how Oakland will be swallowed by sea-level rise over time if nothing is done to reduce global warming. Oakland International Airport would disappear during their lifetimes, they said, and the Claremont Hotel, now in the hills, would become a beachfront property.

Oakland rap artist Boots Riley said, “Climate change is a symptom of the system we are living in, a system that operates on exploitation,” and regaled the audience with his spoken-word poetry.

“This is for the folkers who got bills overdue,
This is for my folkers on check one, two,
This is for my folkers never lived like a hog, me, you,
Toe to toe, I got love for the underdog.”

Rev. Ambrose Carroll, Sr., pastor of the Church by the Side of the Road on the Berkeley-Oakland border, said people of faith must care for the planet to care for each other.

The marches were held just before world leaders gathered in New York on Tuesday at the United Nations to discuss possibilities for slowing climate change and negotiate commitments.

bootsstill“Why are millions of people marching, rallying and demonstrating in over 200 actions around the world today?” Miller of Bay Localize asked the crowd. “On Tuesday, the United Nations will come together for a one-day summit on climate change, and we are demanding climate justice,” hoping that the gatherings in cities all around the world will be noticed by the assembling world leaders.

“From Frisco to Ferguson, from the fence lines of the Chevron refineries in Richmond to the front lines of the tar sands in Alberta, Canada, we are here for justice and we are here for peace,” Miller said.

2 Responses

  1. Pablo Marx

    decent turnout that deserved better media coverage.

    But why waste our time with drivel like the “poem” by Boots Riley? The words of the high school students who spoke were far more profound and meaningful. Please stop the glorification of weak “spoken word” “rap artists” who offer inane rhymes devoid of poetry. Riley is a fine activist, but not much of a poet.

    Two key issues were missed – that meat consumption is one driver of climate catastrophe (which one of the high schoolers noted; and that there were no groups there promoting hemp as a solution for saving trees and replenishing the earth.

    Reply

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