Three weeks ago there were 370 organizations which had endorsed the March to End Fossil Fuels in New York City on September 17. Today, there are about 530. There were 335 local Fridays for Future climate strike actions around the world planned for September 15 and 17. Today there are 570. There were 35 other local actions planned for September 17 in other parts of the USA and around the world. Today there are 115. In addition, in New York City, there are nonviolent direct actions from September 12-15 and on September 18-19 being organized at the headquarters of fossil fuel companies and the banks and other corporations which prop them up.
Why is all of this happening? One reason is the fact that on a worldwide level the month of July was the hottest on record ever, leading to massive wildfires and brutal heat waves in many parts of the world. It is very clear, absolutely factual, that we are in a worldwide climate emergency.
Another reason is the leadership of United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres who called for and has been organizing a Climate Ambition Summit at the United Nations in NYC on September 20th. He has been consistently saying that the price of entry for countries to take part in the summit will be specific, new, upgraded plans by individual countries to step up their actions to shift away from fossil fuels. In his words, “there will be no room for back-sliders, greenwashers, blame-shifters or repackaging of announcements of previous years.”
But the most important reason for these exciting and historic developments is the skillful and dedicated organizing of many people and organizations, grounded in many years of collective experience, including effective unity-building among a broad cross-section of movements.
Because of this collective movement experience the lead organizers had the wisdom to strengthen the demands of the march a couple of weeks ago, adding a fourth demand calling for “a just transition to a renewable energy future that generates millions of jobs while supporting workers’ and community rights, job security and employment equity.” They also strengthened the environmental justice language of the march, adding: “Our renewable energy future must not repeat the violence of the extractive past. Justice must ground the transition off fossil fuels to redress the climate, colonialist, racist, socioeconomic and ecological injustices of the fossil fuel era.”
As I write there are two weeks left until the big September 17 day. That’s a lot of time for many more people to learn about and plan to attend the actions in NYC and around the world. More groups should be endorsing. More of us should be making phone calls and talking up September 17th. More of us should be checking out the plans for nonviolent direct action in NYC September 12-19.
It’s an all hands on deck moment for our severely wounded earth, its many struggling peoples and our children and grandchildren, born and unborn. It’s rise up time.
Ted Glick has been a progressive activist, organizer and writer since 1968. He is the author of the recently published books, Burglar for Peace and 21st Century Revolution. More info can be found at https://tedglick.com.
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