Hailed as the largest climate demonstration in history, the People’s Climate March is estimated to have drawn as many as 400,000 demonstrators to the streets of Manhattan yesterday. While organizers initially expected around 100,000 attendees, the crowd count hovered at around 310,000 by 3pm (the demonstrators—many sporting clever signs and witty costumes—had lined up hours before the 11:30am start time) and eventually spilled over into streets outside the official route.
An anonymously submitted drone video captures the crowd congregating along the city’s West Side.
But what the video doesn’t quite capture is who was at the front of the march: mainly members of indigenous communities, labor unions, and groups advocating on behalf of immigrants and the poor. These marchers, who came from across the globe, represent communities disproportionately vulnerable to the ripples of climate change, whether it’s the indigenous communities in the Canadian arctic, low-income families slammed by Hurricane Sandy, or people of color, who in the US are more likely than caucasians to live close to coal-fired power plants and breathe in polluted air.
The march focused attention on environmental issues ahead of tomorrow’s United Nations climate summit, where 120 world leaders hope to come up with a global framework on how to combat the environmental crisis. UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon attended the New York march, as did former US vice president Al Gore, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio, actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Edward Norton, and other widely recognized activists. According to the organizers, more than 2,800 solidarity events were held in 166 countries across the globe, in cities including London, Paris, Istanbul, Jakarta, and Melbourne.