October 01, 2014
The huge People's Climate March in New York City on September 21 dominated the headlines -- and rightly so, as some 400,000 people marched through the streets of Midtown Manhattan. But the New York march was just one of 2,646 solidarity events in 162 countries around the globe. From Sydney to Santa Fe, Rio de Janeiro to the Rio Grande, everyday citizens turned out to tell world leaders that the time for climate action is now.
In New Mexico, volunteers and staff with the Sierra Club's Rio Grande Chapter partnered with New Mexico Interfaith Power & Light, 350.org, Environment New Mexico, and other faith and justice groups to host a People's Climate Pilgrimage.
"We wanted our events in Albuquerque and Santa Fe to be journeys -- pilgrimages -- with stops along the way where people could learn about climate disruption, solutions to the challenges we face, and how they can get involved," says Rio Grande Chapter director Camilla Feibelman.
That's Feibelman, below, firing up the crowd in Santa Fe, where around 700 people participated.
"We had speakers at each stop, and everyone who signed our petition supporting strong EPA carbon rules got a sticker," Feibleman says. "We called on Governor Susana Martinez to retract her opposition to cleaning up coal-fired power plants and urged utilities and state government to invest in renewable energy. By the end of the day, we'd collected about 1,000 names of new potential activists."
Albuquerque-based Sierra Club organizer Dustin Chavez-Davis says the theme of the pilgrimage was to connect the dots about how the climate crisis is related to other issues, including immigration, labor, food systems, and energy production. Some 400 people participated in the Albuquerque pilgrimage.
"Hundreds of people signed our petition and learned about the intersection of various issues affecting our community," Chavez-Davis says. "The event not only raised awareness about climate disruption, it gave people the opportunity to take action supporting investments in clean, renewable energy."
"The pilgrimage brought in lots of folks from outside the typical climate activist mold," Chavez-Davis says. "It was a great opportunity to tie into issues that the Sierra Club and the broader environmental community don't connect to on a daily basis."
"Leaders from all the organizations participating in the event stressed the intersection of the various issues affecting the community and how they're related to the climate movement, not separate from it. It was powerful to come together and hear stories from immigrant justice workers, faith leaders, environmental activists, and people who work with underserved members of our community."
Alququerque photos by Tom Solomon. Santa Fe photos courtesy of Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter.