Climate March

On Wednesday December 10, 2014, I attended and marched in the Marcha Mundial en Defensa de la Madre Tierra in Lima, Peru, put on by the Cumbre de los Pueblos. I got a taxi from my hostel with two other members of the mosaic crew, and we took it to the Campo de Marte at the intersection of the Avenue de la Peruanidad and the Avenue Salaverry. The march seemed to have a good amount of people at this point, but it didn’t seem as big as we had expected. But the marching didn’t actually start until 11 AM, we were just gathering in the park at this point. We left to get some bananas for breakfast, and when we got back, it seemed a bit larger of a crowd had gathered.


My other two companions had to leave at this point to go to the COP, so I was left alone. I walked around for a bit and got handed a bunch of pamphlets and stickers and pins and was asked to sign a few petitions. I was also handed a sign that consisted of a big green heart with “100% energia limpia” written on it (it wasn’t until a few hours after the march that I found out what this meant—100% clean energy). I would carry this sign for the whole march.


At one point the energy seemed to really start to come to a head and there was a bunch of performance art and drumming and traditional music and chanting being done, although at this point I couldn’t tell if the march had begun yet or not. But the energy was absolutely intoxicating. We had by this point blocked off all the traffic in the Campo de Marte traffic circle, and police had to direct traffic. I walked around in the middle of the street for a while checking out all of the different groups of protesters. It seemed that the march was split up into blocks of different groups, separated by large signs telling what their purpose for marching was (I think, it was all in Spanish, which I don’t speak). There was no block for people with big green heart signs so I walked around and checked out a bunch of different groups, one of which was a bunch of women banging on cans and chanting something. I tried to chant with them, but the language barrier made this impossible. I kept walking through the crowd until I realized that I was now standing in a line with a bunch of people with bandanas tied around their mouths and heads. This was the  “Bloque Hip Hop.” I stood in their lines for a while, but I felt very out of place there as they seemed a little too militant with their bandanas and their anti-capitalism signs for my green heart. Also, based on the amount of daps that were given, it seemed that they all knew each other pretty well. So I left their crowd.


The slogan of the march was “Change the system, not the climate,” meaning that this protest was meant to challenge the current manner of dealing with climate change, and try to change that. In fact, this I believe was the whole purpose of the People’s Summit—to offer alternatives to current negotiating systems. There were definitely enough people there to help out challenging the current system. By the time the marching began, I couldn’t see where the end of the crowd was.


As we began marching, I again joined in with the women banging on cans, mostly because they seemed nice and there were others with big green hearts in their crowd. The march was a lot of fun. We marched for about 2 hours (?) through the neighborhood of La Victoria (?) taking over highways and other streets. It was a lot of fun seeing how we were blocking off traffic, although the cars weren’t having that much fun. I almost got run over a few times by angry drivers.


I attempted to chant along with people, but it was all in vain—I couldn’t understand the Spanish. Occasionally I would yell the Spanish words I could make out, like “porque” or “clima,” but overall it was hard for me to chant in Spanish.


Every so often people would start yelling and running forwards which was fun. I also tried to check out a bunch of different groups in the march and not hang around the same people the whole time. There was a group with orange flags that said “PCP” on them. I have no idea what this meant. There was another group with green flags that said “CCP, ” The FENAOMP group, the CGTP group, and at the very front of the march were a bunch of people holding a huge green tarp with something I couldn’t make out written on it. And of course there were the women dressed in purple and the Bloque de Hip Hop, among other groups that I can’t remember.


As I said, we marched about 2 hours through the streets of Lima, sometimes on larger two lanes roads and sometimes on smaller city streets where we walked alongside residents of Lima not participating in the march. The march ended in a big circle I don’t know where. The whole circle seemed to be a big party. There was one person making a speech on a truck in Spanish to a substantial crowd, a few different bands playing, people burning coca leaves and making speeches, and people hanging around the park making demonstrations or just hanging out on the grass. The whole scene was pretty fun, although I decided to leave as I didn’t know anyone and couldn’t understand anything as it was all in Spanish. Getting out was hell, because the march had screwed up all of the traffic patterns and the roads were blocked up for as far as I could see. I had five taxis reject me until I finally found one that would take me back to Miraflores. All in all though, a really great experience, and I got a big heart sign from it, which, sadly, had to be cut up so that it could fit in my suitcase to go back home.


¡Cambiemos el Sistema No el Clima!



Both Sides of a Coin Called Climate Change

Climate Science I have had the incredible opportunity to not only participate in this mosaic, but also to join in the single largest climate change related demonstration ever. While I would have marched in The People’s Climate March in New York City on September 21st regardless of what I am studying now, it does help that I am spending my entire semester studying climate change and have been throwing myself into the world of international negotiations (which this march was aimed at). It is nice for a change to see the other major side to the climate change movement. Near the end of the march, there was no movement though. The people were stuck. The UN had been blocked off by the the immense swath of marchers. This was not a bad thing though, there were simply so many people taking part, that the streets were completely saturated.. There were so many that the organizers had to start diverting marchers from the established pathway because it was becoming difficult for anyone trying to leave the march needing to get out of the streets. This is what is needed though. This meeting of the people and the leaders of the world is necessary. In order to start making serious progress on climate change mitigation and adaptation pressure needs to be applied on world governments. This issue needs to be at the forefront of their minds, as often a possible. It is this demonstration that will hopefully do that. Imagine a world without these types of demonstrations. Where would the great global society be now? How far behind would we be? The march wasn’t just about reducing carbon emissions and trying to get the world’s leaders to get along with one another, it encompassed so much more. There were groups from every walk of life. From Al Gore’s Climate Reality to groups of anarchists. This march wasn’t s single event either. It was held all over the world. There were over 2,600 events in 150 countries, with the main march being in NYC where alone somewhere between 300,000 and 400,000 people participated. Even UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon joined in the march. More of my photos here.

People’s Climate March in NYC

Mosaic Students marching with their Professors in mind
Mosaic Students marching with their Professors in mind

Today 25 students and 4 faculty members from Dickinson College descended on New York City with 400,000 other people from around the world to demand climate action. We started in Central Park and ended at the UN headquarters on 9th Ave. We came to New York for a variety of reasons, but what we all hold in common is that we demanded action to address climate change now.

We are all anxiously watching what will happen on Tuesday September 23, 2014 as Ban Ki-Moon holds the Climate Summit in New York City. We are doubtful yet hopeful that our actions today will make a difference on the international stage.

400,000+ strongWhat happened today shot past our wildest expectations. 400,000 is a lot of people, we are ecstatic to see where this goes. We can’t wait for the future. Please join us.

See a TIME article here






Dickinson students found Bill McKibben of on the streets!
Dickinson students found Bill McKibben of on the streets!


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