On Sunday, September 21, at 11.30 A.M., an historic People’s Climate March is beginning at 59th Street near Columbus Circle, New York City. It is perhaps going to be the biggest climate march in human history.
I am going to participate in the march, enthusiastically. I hope you do, too.
Climate change and global warming are proving to be disastrous for the entire mankind. Greenhouse gas build-up, breakdown of the atmospheric ozone layer, rapidly-rising air pollution, melting of the polar ice cap, more frequent Hurricane Sandy-type super-storms, El Nino’s, etc. are subjects that many of us do not immediately recognize as the worst killers. But they are. In fact, if we do not do anything about it right now, conservative, scientific predictions are that world’s average temperature is going to rise 4 to 5 degrees by the end of this century.
And conservative, scientific projections are that if the world’s temperature increases only 3 to 4 degrees, places like Bangladesh, West Bengal, Assam and Orissa are going to be submerged in rising ocean waters.
That’s pretty scary for me, because I came from there, and all my extended family members, as well as hundreds of friends, students and colleagues live there. They’ll be gone. At least, their children and their children will be gone.
Worse, a very rich history of art, poetry, literature, film, drama and culinary traditions will be wiped out from the face of the earth.
And I’m only using these countries as examples. It’s going to be pan-demic.
Who are the people responsible for this looming catastrophe?
World’s temperature did not rise more than 1 degree in the past 100 to 150 years. But NASA scientist Jim Hansen and his colleagues attribute the current, rapid rise in global temperature to one or two things, primarily: (1) out-of-control burning of fossil fuels, and (2) post-industrial-revolution CO2 build-up. These are the two biggest culprits.
It is true that industrialization and modern civilization have given us a much faster and easier way of life: speed and convenience that we could not imagine even 50 years ago. Cars instead of public transportation (burning oil and gas), refrigerators in our homes (PCB’s), natural gas for domestic and industrial cooking, tissue papers and napkins in our kitchens and bathrooms (felling forests), McDonald’s hamburgers (raising and killing millions of cattle and grassland) and supermarket plastic bags (huge pollution source)…you name it…they all made our lives much easier.
But question is: at what cost?
And the next question is: shouldn’t there be some checks and balances, so that the ill effects of these costs do not go out of control, and destroy our very existence?
But the current, neoliberal economic model and its political and corporate pushers would not want any checks and balances. They have created an exclusively market-driven socio-economic system, one that does not take into account human costs. The sole motive for their functioning is growth and profit.
And that has proved to be purely disastrous.
Elite, scholarly discussions aside, what are some of problems that we can DIRECTLY connect to climate change and global warming?
Think about health and health care. Asthma and allergies and countless, mutated viruses and bacterial diseases are on rapid rise — all over the world. Whether in New York City, London, Paris, Calcutta, Brasilia or Beijing, just find out how rapid these health problems have become, in just the past decade or so. It’s scary!
Cancer has become almost like an epidemic in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Believe me!
Who is going to pay for it? And how?
In Paris only (that is Paris, France — a so-called First World country), 10,000 old people died in about a week in 2003 — the first time world health experts attributed climate change and global warming to that massive number of deaths. So, it is NOT a poor country’s problem anymore.
It is everybody’s problem. Over 1,000 organizations, including 75+ labor unions, therefore, have endorsed the march. That’s history in itself.
Think about public transportation. Does global warming have anything to do with it? Shouldn’t there be a revamping of the way we move about? Green buses and trams, car pooling, electric cars? Bicycling? Look at greener and saner countries like Norway or Belgium. Bicycling in the Netherlands. Even Calcutta has a well-functioning subway metro train line, that has saved millions from pollution-related diseases.
Here in the U.S., corporate media would not talk about it!
Think about immigration. Think about war and violence. DIRECTLY related to climate change and global warming.
World is going to be a thousand times more violent, and poor people will cross borders to flee their poverty, hunger and diseases — DIRECTLY because of climate change and global warming.
Then, think about…FOOD. What we eat, and what we drink. Who produce them, and who manufacture them.
Corporate media especially here in the U.S. deliberately bypass these critically important discussions. The U.S. government and its lynchpin corporations (the 1%) keep sabotaging global climate talks.
We are marching on Sunday, September 21, here in New York City, because two days after, the United Nations are convening a global climate summit here. Our historic rally is going to send a very strong message to them.
And then, we shall keep organizing. To reverse the disastrous climate trend.
Let us be a part of this movement.
We’re going to make history. And we’ll pass on this people’s history to our children.
Let’s join in on the People’s Climate March.
Brooklyn, New York