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World marches on climate change

By Agencies in New York and Washington | China Daily | Updated: 2014-09-23 08:03

Protesters without a permit pledge to risk arrest during blockade of Wall Street

Tens of thousands of activists walked through Manhattan, warning that climate change is destroying the Earth, in stride with demonstrators around the world urging policymakers to take quick action.

Most came on foot for the Sunday march, others with bicycles and walkers, and some even in wheelchairs. Many wore costumes and marched to drumbeats. One woman played the accordion.

But their message was not entertaining:

"We're going to lose our planet in the next generation if things continue this way," said Bert Garskof, 81, as a family member pushed his wheelchair through Times Square.

Garskof, a native New Yorker and professor of psychology at Connecticut's Quinnipiac University, first heard about global warming in 1967, "when no one was paying much attention", he said.

Sunday's march in New York was one of a series of events held around the world to raise awareness about climate change.

In London, organizers said 40,000 marchers participated, while a small gathering in Cairo featured a huge art piece representing wind and solar energy. In Rio de Janeiro, marchers with green hearts painted on their faces rallied at Ipanema Beach.

Celebrities in London including actress Emma Thompson and musician Peter Gabriel joined thousands of people crossing the capital's center, chanting: "What do we want? Clean energy. When do we want it? Now."

In Australia, the largest rally was in Melbourne, where an estimated 10,000 people took to the streets with banners and placards calling on their government to do more to combat global warming.

US President Barack Obama will seek to galvanize international support in the fight against climate change on Tuesday when he addresses the UN, with time running out on his hopes of leaving a lasting environmental legacy.

Organizers said more than 100,000 people marched in New York, including actors Mark Ruffalo and Evangeline Lilly. They were joined in midtown Manhattan by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, former US Vice-President Al Gore and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

On Tuesday, more than 120 world leaders will convene for the United Nations Climate Summit, which is aimed at galvanizing political will for a new global climate treaty by the end of 2015.

"I am overwhelmed by such strong power, energy and voice of people," Ban said. "I hope this voice will be truly reflected to the leaders when they meet on Sept 23. Climate change is a defining issue of our time, and there is no time to lose. If we do not take action now, we will have to pay much more."

De Blasio said: "My sense is the energy you see on the streets, the numbers that have amassed here and in other cities around the world, show that something bigger is going on. And this UN summit will be one of the ones where we look back and say it was a difference-maker."

In another development, hundreds of protesters plan to risk arrest on Monday during an unsanctioned blockade in New York City's financial district to call attention to what organizers say is Wall Street's contribution to climate change.

Flood Wall Street organizers said they wanted to use the momentum gained in Sunday's march to "highlight the role of capitalism in fueling the climate crisis".

As many as 2,000 participants will meet in lower Manhattan's Battery Park before a planned noon march to Wall Street and the steps of the New York Stock Exchange for a sit-in and blockade without a police permit, event organizers said.

AP - Reuters

 World marches on climate change

Clockwise from top left: Protesters take part in the People's Climate March in Paris on Sunday. In New York, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius (left), primatologist Jane Goodall, former US Vice-President Al Gore, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon participate in the city's march. Activists let off balloons in front of the Brandenburg Gate during the People's Climate March in Berlin. Demonstrators march in the rain at Ipanema beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.   Thomas Padilla, Craig Ruttle, Gero Breloer, Leo Correa / Associated Press


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