Nearly 100 citizen activists gathered on the Princeton University campus earlier this week for a training session to help mobilize 10,000 New Jerseyans to join the People's Climate March in New York City on September 21. The training was put together by 350.org volunteer Rosemary Dreger Carey and New Jersey Chapter staffer Nicole Dallara. That's Dallara at right in jean jacket, above.
Participants included Sierra Clubbers and other concerned citizens, representatives from civic and environmental groups including 350.org, municipal and faith leaders, labor union members, and students from Princeton, Rutgers, Montclair State, Monmouth College, and Ramapo College.
"It was a great crowd with lots of energy and excitement," says Dallara. "We have a great group of volunteers which continues to grow every day. Our original goal was to get 1,500 Sierra Club members to be among the 10,000 New Jerseyans participating in the march, but this training makes me confident that we're going to easily surpass that number."
Community organizer and social change activist Paul Getsos gave a detailed overview of the People's Climate March route in Manhattan, the significance of the march, and the larger goal of building a people-driven movement demanding climate solutions and climate justice.
Kevin Buckland, an artist and activist coordinator with 350.org, enlisted volunteers to hoist hand-made fabric banners called cantastoria -- Italian for "sung story" or "singing history" -- that will be carried at the march.
Above and below, two of the cantastoria.
Buckland explained why climate action is so urgently needed, and how we can transition away from fossil fuels and build a clean energy infrastructure that will create good-paying jobs and benefit public health.
Five breakout sessions allowed participants to explore key organizational challenges: Organizing for Faith-Based Groups, Campus Organizing, Art-Inspired mobilization, Bus Coordination, and Recruiting for the People's Climate March.
"Everyone at the training shared the common desire to influence the world leaders who will be convening in New York for the UN Climate Summit on September 23-- as well as influence friends, families, and communities -- to respond to the climate crisis with boldness, speed, and fairness," says Dreger Carey, who designed the training curriculum with Dallara.
Dallara gives a shout-out to Princeton student Isaac Lederman, co-president of Students for a Responsible Global Environment (SURGE), for booking the training venue on the Princeton campus.
"People from around the country will be coming together on September 21 to march as one, calling on our world leaders to tackle the most important issue of our time: climate change," says Dallara. "This is a march for the planet that we want to protect for future generations."