Last weekend, Appalachian Voices joined 400,000 people in New York City for the largest climate march in history. And it was truly inspiring.
While massive extractive fossil fuel interests try everything in their power to tighten their grip on our region’s energy future, it’s moments like these that show we are making progress. People from across the country came to the march, including many dear friends from Central Appalachia who are directly impacted by the destruction of mountaintop removal coal mining and our country’s reliance on coal.
We laughed, we cried, we danced and chanted, but most importantly we sent a signal loud and clear to world leaders gathering for UN climate negotiations that action must be taken immediately to avert further impacts of climate change.
The march was more than four miles long and included an enormous variety of people and issues. One contingent of activists supported the clean, renewable power sources that will help address the climate crisis. In the midst of the robust Virginia contingent, dozens of wooden model wind turbines twirled in the breeze. In the middle of the march was a youth contingent which included K-12 students and their families and stretched more than four blocks. The visuals were stunning, the energy was electrifying, and for once, the weather was perfect for a climate march!
Leading the march were communities in the frontlines of the climate crisis. From Black Mesa, to the Gulf, inner city Chicago to the hollers of Appalachia, impacted communities have been standing together as part of the Climate Justice Alliance. It was an honor to stand with Appalachian leaders and support the courageous efforts the frontline communities that were marching.
The People’s Climate March demonstrated that communities are standing together and the immense power of those committed to fighting. Perhaps most importantly, it reminded each of us that we are in this together.
As we continue to fight state-by-state and town-by-town in our region for solutions and strong measures to reduce pollution, this march filled us with inspiration and resolve.
Were you at the march? We’d love to see your stories and memories in the comments.