Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary General said: “I will link arms with those marching for climate action and stand with them on the right side of this key issue for our common future.”
The march will happen two days before the UN Climate Summit and is the centrepiece of the largest climate mobilisation in history, including major sister demonstrations in Paris, London, Rio, Berlin, Melbourne, Bogota and Delhi – as well as 2,000 smaller marches taking place from Lagos to Lima.
Speaking in support of the march, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu said: “This is surely a moment that demands unprecedented collective action. We can no longer tinker about the edges. We can no longer continue feeding our addiction to fossil fuels as if there is no tomorrow. For there will be no tomorrow. We are on the cusp of a global transition to a new safe energy economy, a transition that unites people in common purpose, advances collective well-being and ensures the survival of our species.”
Celebrities who will be marching on the day include: actress Emma Thompson, musician Peter Gabriel (both in London), and City of God director Fernando Mereilles (Brazil) and in New York the photographer Sebastiao Salgado amongst many others. The march has also been backed by other A-list stars, including footballer Lionel Messi, musicians Brian Eno and Alexander Ebert, and actors Susan Sarandon, William Shatner, Edward Norton and Kiefer Sutherland.
Ricken Patel, Executive Director of Avaaz, one of the organisations supporting the global movement, said: “Climate change is no longer just an environmental issue, it’s now an everybody issue. The momentum we’re seeing is intense. These marches will have everyone from frontline communities affected by climate change, to labor and faith groups, to UN officials and politicians. It’s a powerful statement that we’re all in this together.”
In Rio, Christ the Redeemer will be coloured green tonight, in London church-bells will ring out across the city as marchers head for Parliament Square and in New York, fishermen will be sailing down the East River calling for action outside the UN. Local indigenous communities, including Tanzania’s Maasai, will also be marching.
Avaaz is calling on leaders meeting in New York to back a new plan to commit to 100% clean energy by 2050 ahead of crucial climate negotiations in Paris next December. Scientists say that a dramatic cut in carbon is the only way that the world can keep global warming beneath two degrees.
With 20% of the world’s energy already coming from renewables, massive energy transitions taking place in China and Germany and countries like Norway and Uruguay already running on 95% renewable energy, this ask is not only the sole way to avert runaway climate change, but it’s also entirely viable.