Rallying for Climate Change


Sunday, September 21, marked a major milestone for anyone concerned about climate change. An estimated 400,000 people joined the People’s Climate March in New York City for what is being called the largest climate march in history. Sunday’s march aimed to bring attention to the major issue of climate change before the U.N. Climate Summit, which began in New York on Tuesday, September 23. 

Participants hoped to encourage the 125 heads of state meeting at the Climate Summit to take immediate action against climate change and to acknowledge the impacts that can already be seen. 

Along with the march in New York, over 2,800 events in 166 countries took place on Sunday. The larger People’s Climate Mobilization included rallies, marches and concerts from Lisbon to Papua New Guinea.

The People’s Climate Mobilization participants highlight a major global issue that has yet to be dealt with effectively and is already having noticeable impacts. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has stated, “It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of observed [global] warming since the mid-20th century.” Participants of the Mobilization believe it is time to stop debating the existence of climate change and start working towards developing ways to slow this change and mitigate impacts. Carbon emissions in 2013 reached a record high with 39.8 billion tons of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere. The IPCC estimates sea level rise of about 3.2 mm per year over the past twenty years, which poses a serious problem for inhabitants of the low-lying Pacific atoll nations. Debates have begun over where the up to 200 million climate refugees will be able to go by 2050. In 2008, the UN reported 20 million people were displaced as a result of climate change and natural disasters. Climate change is occurring now and our global actions are ensuring the process will continue unless major action is taken. Hopefully the global actions of the People’s Climate Mobilization, along with the 400,000 people who marched in New York this weekend, will encourage major action from the UN Climate Summit.

This weekend, the Colgate and Hamilton communities were welcomed to join together and support climate action at the Homecoming Climate Rally outside the Chapel on Sunday afternoon. The event included music by multiple campus groups, a farm stand from the Colgate Community Garden and representatives from campus clubs and organizations. Director of Sustainability John Pumilio shared a great message about the importance of climate action and highlighted Colgate’s aggressive goal of reaching carbon neutrality by 2019.

This weekend’s climate demonstrations at Colgate, in New York City and across the globe mark a major step forward in the push for climate action. Hopefully these demonstrations will start a conversation about the need to address climate change now and not push it off into the future.