By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
On Sunday, Sept. 21, the People’s Climate March (PCM) is expected to be the largest demonstration for climate action in history. The national march, in New York City, takes place just two days before President Obama and world leaders gather for an emergency Climate Summit at the United Nations.
Called by UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon, the Summit is an attempt to reach a global climate deal and to develop emission reduction commitments for the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference.
Local coalitions across America are organizing similar events including those in downtown Oklahoma City and Tulsa.
On Sept. 21 at 2 p.m., drummers will open the Oklahoma City People’s Climate March on the east lawn of the Municipal Building, 201 N. Hudson, at Park Avenue. Concerned citizens will speak about why climate change is hurting the planet.
The march is to raise awareness that atmospheric climate change is real, man-made, and to express the urgency for all citizens to help reduce emissions of CO2 and Methane –the primary causes of global warming.
Stepping off at 2:30 p.m., participants will march a mile past businesses that include fossil fuel producers and financial lenders in the area, and then return to City Hall.
Event co-sponsors include The Peace House, Turtle Rock Farm, Interfaith Power & Light OKC, Peace Education Institute, and the Oklahoma Sierra Club.
Endorsers include the Center for Conscience in Action, Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance, Grand Riverkeeper LEAD Agency, OK League of Women Voters, Church of the Open Arms, East 6th Street Christian Church, Idle No More OKC, Community Environmental Working Group Tulsa, and the Shawnee Peace Fellowship.
“Global warming and climate change are the issues of our time,”said organizer and Peace House director Nathaniel Batchelder.
“If we cannot convince elected officials at local, state, and national levels to enact serious policy addressing global warming and climate change, then we are guilty of dismissing as unimportant the coming great die-off of species that is already under way.”
The same day, starting at 3 p.m., the Tulsa People’s Climate March will include speakers, information booths, and kite making at the 41st Street Plaza, River Parks East Trail, at 41st & Riverside Drive. The march will proceed north to the Tulsa Rugby field.
Barbara VanHanken, Oklahoma Sierra Club Chair said, “We encourage riding bikes or walking to the site to reduce your climate footprint. Bring your message signs and lawn chairs. We welcome all groups to bring their own banners to march in support of Climate action.”
Tulsa event sponsors are Oklahoma Sierra Club, OK League of Women Voters and the Tulsa Community Environmental Working Group. Supporters are All Souls Green Team, Green Country Sierra Club, League of Women Voters Metropolitan Tulsa, Grand Riverkeeper LEAD Agency, and Clean Energy Future OK.
Oklahoma environmental activist Earl Hatley said, “We are an epicenter for tar sands and Bakken Shale oil transportation to the gulf, because of the Cushing Terminal and our central location.
“In addition, we are now a target for hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas. Our renewable future starts locally, right here in central Oklahoma.”
More than 750 organizations around the world are supporting the People’s Climate March.
National event organizers say, “With our future on the line and the whole world watching we’ll take to the streets to demand a world safe from the ravages of climate change; a world with good jobs, clean air and water, and healthy communities.”
The Climate Summit marks the beginning of an 18-month period of international negotiations to get commitments from countries to reduce pollution. In December, leaders will continue negotiations in Lima, Peru. Then, in September 2015 world leaders will return to New York to adopt Sustainable Development Goals.
Three months later, leaders will gather in Paris in hopes of signing a new international climate treaty.
For more information, call Nathaniel Batchelder at 405-524-5577or visit www.peoplesclimate.org.