Hundreds of thousands in New York march call for action on climate change

(Photo: REUTERS / Carlo Allegri)New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (L), French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius (3rd L), animal activist Jane Goodall (C), former United States Vice President Al Gore (3rd R), United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (2nd R) and French Environment Minister Segolene Royal (R) take part in the "People's Climate March" down 6th Ave in the Manhattan borough of New York September 21, 2014. Organizers are expecting up to 100,000 to join the People's Climate March in midtown Manhattan ahead of this week's U.N. General Assembly, which brings together 120 world leaders to discuss reducing carbon emissions that threaten the environment

Around 310,000 people, including United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, actor Leonardo DiCaprio and officials from the United States and abroad along with religous leaders joined the People's Climate March on Sunday.

Religious leaders from every part of the globe took part in the march and the World Council of Church and Religions for peace launched their two-day Interfaith Summit on Climate Change.

The Interfaith Summit aims to convey the faith communities' concerns and proposals to the Secretary General's Climate Summit.

Noble Peace Prize laureate Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu wrote in the Observer newspaper Sunday, "Who can stop climate change?

"We can. You and you and you, and me.

"And it is not just that we can stop it, we have a responsibility to do so that began in the genesis of humanity, when God commanded the earliest human inhabitants of the Garden of Eden, 'to till it and keep it.'

"To 'keep' it; not to abuse it, not to make as much money as possible from it, not to destroy it."

Sunday's New York rally was the largest single protest ever held on the topic of climate change, followed similar events in 166 countries including Britain, France, Afghanistan and Bulgaria, Reuters news agency reported.

The march preceded Tuesday's United Nations hosted summit to discuss reducing carbon emissions that threaten the environment.

Ban wore a T-shirt that read "I'm for climate action" and marched arm-in-arm with British primatologist Jane Goodall and French Ecology Minister Segolene Royal.


"This is the planet where our subsequent generations will live," Ban told reporters. "There is no 'Plan B,' because we do not have 'Planet B.'"

To save earth, all must change their ways, said Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople before the march carried on the World Council of Churches website.

"If we are to respond to the ecological crisis in a responsible and substantial way, we must move beyond mere talk to practical action," said Bartholomew in an official message to the Interfaith Summit on Climate Change.

Patriarch Bartholomew said that "each believer and each leader, each field and each discipline, each institution and each individual must be touched by the call to change our greedy ways and destructive habits" for the sake of climate justice.

The Ecumenical Patriarch stressed that "unless we change the way we live; we cannot hope to avoid ecological damage.

"This means that - instead of solely depending on governments and experts for answers - each of us must become accountable for our slightest gesture and act in order to reverse the path that we are on, which will of course also include prevailing upon governments and leaders for the creation and application of collective policy and practice."

He noted, that if the "final statement of this summit is to prove informative and influential, it must be translated more than simply for the purpose of signing by the religious dignitaries; it must prove transformative of people's lives."

Copyright © 2014 Ecumenical News