As world leaders gather in New York City for a global climate conference, organizers of the largest climate protest march in history say their own preparations are well under way.
The People's Climate March set for Sunday, Sept. 21, will demonstrate the level of anger and frustration people are feeling about the lack of action on global warming and climate change by those world leaders, the organizers say.
The march, planned by environmental activists along with labor and social actions groups and set to feature banners, signs and floats, is drawing people from around the world, they say, and marchers will be arriving on buses from across the U.S.
"This is the final crunch, the product of six months of work to make the People's March a big, beautiful expression of the climate movement," says Brooklyn-based artist Rachel Schragis, who is managing the production of various march materials.
The Sunday date for the march was chosen to garner attention ahead of the climate summit set to open at the United Nations on Sept. 23, where world delegates are expected to start the groundwork aiming to create a global agreement on emissions to be considered next year in Paris.
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has said he would take part in the march.
The march will assemble in Central Park West, an area organizers say could hold as many as 80,000 to 100,000 people, and follow a route negotiated over several months with the New York Police Department, ending on 11th Avenue between 34th and 38th Streets.
"We want to communicate to world leaders that there is a large, diverse and mobilized constituency to hold [world leaders] to account," says Paul Getsos, a long-time NYC organizer involved in planning the walk. "This is not the old kind of climate march where we're just talking about polar bears. It's bigger than that. We're talking about environmental racism and climate justice."
The New York march is just one of a number climate events around the world set to coincide with the U.N. summit, with organizers citing rallies or marches in London, Delhi, Melbourne, Rio de Janeiro and Jakarta.
But the New York march is aimed most directly at the summit and its attendees, says organizer Bill McKibben, co-founder of the group 350.org.
"When the secretary general invited world leaders to this summit, all of us in the climate justice movement thought, 'Left to their own devices, these guys will do the same thing they've done for 25 years -- i.e., nothing,'" he says. "So we thought, we better go to New York, too."