Taking Action to Avoid Climate Catastrophe

Posted by NYPIRG on September 11, 2023 at 9:10 am

When it comes to climate, this year has been horrendous.  Wildfires across Canada were so bad that the air in New York City turned orange; there was massive flooding in New York, Europe, Brazil, and China (among others); “heat domes” made life miserable in the United States and nearly impossible in the Middle East; and there were the rising sea levels and melting polar caps.  All in all, it’s hard not to be depressed about the fate of the planet.

Our political debates are almost as bad as the deteriorating climate.  The oil, coal and gas industries are pulling back their “green” investments and battling legislation to protect the planet from a worsening environment.  They have been so successful that leading candidates for President are saying that an appropriate response to greenhouse gas warming is to push the pedal to the metal and rely more heavily on fossil fuels, despite the overwhelming science that says to do the opposite.

That fossil fuel industry’s public relations jiu-jitsu brings to mind Chico Marx in the movie “Duck Soup” when he gets caught red handed and says “Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?”

In the last year alone our eyes have seen it all – floods, wildfires, deadly heat and pollution.  Obviously, something must be done, not anti-science flim flam, but tangible steps to avoid climate catastrophe.

Luckily, the scientific consensus that the planet is heating up largely due to the burning of fossil fuels points to an obvious response – wean the world off those fuels and shift to a green economy.  But those options have been well known for years, with little policy actions.  The power of Big Oil and their political henchmen have been successful in blocking needed changes, all the while making enormous profits

So, what can you do?

It’s pretty clear that despite the overwhelming scientific conclusion that the burning of fossil fuels is a key driver in the planet heating up and that we are seeing the impacts with our own eyes, the problem of climate catastrophe is a political one – and one that needs a political response.

It’s time to take it to the streets.

This Sunday is an opportunity for individuals to stand up to the oil lobby and push the political establishment toward meaningful action.  On September 20th, the United Nations Secretary-General is convening a Climate Ambition Summit at United Nations Headquarters in New York.  The UN Secretary-General called for a global climate action summit in New York City and the “ticket to entry” for countries will be tangible action to keep fossil fuels in the ground – in the form of policies, and not just empty declarations.

The Summit presents a critical milestone for demonstrating politically that there is collective global will to accelerate the pace and scale of a just transition to a more equitable renewable-energy based, climate-resilient global economy.

To show the world’s leaders that there is widespread, potent public support for climate action, concerned individuals are organizing a “March to End Fossil Fuels” that will take place on Sunday, September 17th in New York City.

The march will start on Broadway, between 54th and 57th Streets in Manhattan and proceed on 52nd Street and end with a rally at 1st Ave and 50th St.  For those of you who are familiar with New York City, that route is flat and about 1.5 miles.

There are coordinated transportation options for those who want to attend, including for travel from Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Vermont, and upstate New York. 

Of course, participation in one rally doesn’t win the day.  It will take consistent, fierce advocacy to shift the political dynamic toward protecting the planet.  But this Sunday is one way to show your determination, either by showing up for the march, or by calling your Congressional representatives to tell them that you support climate action, not inaction.