By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
This weekend, on Saturday and Sunday, November 28 and 29, people everywhere will come together calling for climate justice and an end to carbon pollution. The events will take place on the eve of the Paris Climate Summit, which will begin Monday, November 30.
On Sunday, November 29, the Oklahoma City Global Climate March will take place from 2 to 4 p.m. at Bicentennial Park, 201 N. Walker Street, in downtown Oklahoma City.
This year it is expected that thousand of events around the world will take place in 188 countries. A coalition of activist groups including Avaaz, Greenpeace and 350.org are joining together to sponsor the world events.
Local coalitions across America are organizing similar events.
“The march in Oklahoma City will be one of hundreds around the world urging action at the United Nations Climate Summit in Paris,” said Nathaniel Batchelder director of the Peace House in Oklahoma City.
Oklahoma City drew over 400 marchers to a similar event last year.
“President Obama and representatives of 196 nations will attend the Summit to formulate plans to address environmental challenges facing the world.”
Organizers say families and groups are invited to bring banners and signs to add color and spirit to the event.
“Reversing global warming and climate change are the most crucial challenges humanity has ever faced, and these challenges must be resolved during this generation” Batchelder said.
“The bishops and communion leaders of the 16 denominations in the Oklahoma City Conference of Churches approved a statement a year ago saying that climate change is real; it is human-made; and all humanity must participate in solutions,” said Batchelder, also a board member of OCC.
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.
“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,” said Batchelder.
One year ago the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon hosted the 2014 Climate Summit to engage leaders and advance climate action and ambition. That Summit marked the beginning of an 18-month period of international negotiations to get commitments from countries to reduce pollution.
A Pentagon report released in July stated, “Global climate change will have wide-ranging implications for U.S. national security interests over the foreseeable future because it will aggravate existing problems — such as poverty, social tensions, environmental degradation, ineffectual leadership, and weak political institutions — that threaten domestic stability in a number of countries.”
On Tuesday, during a joint press conference in Washington D. C. with French President François Hollande, President Obama stated, “Next week, I will be joining President Hollande and world leaders in Paris for the global climate conference.
“What a powerful rebuke to the terrorists it will be, when the world stands as one and shows that we will not be deterred from building a better future for our children,” Obama added.
Less than two weeks before the meeting in Washington, ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) carried out multiple terrorist attacks in Paris, killing 130.
The Oklahoma City event co-sponsors include the Peace House OKC, Turtle Rock Farm, Oklahoma United Methodist Environmental Coalition, Oklahoma Interfaith Power & Light, Oklahoma Conference of Churches, Mosaic United Methodist Church, East Sixth Street Christian Church, Citizens Climate Lobby of Norman, First Unitarian Church of Oklahoma City, and the Oklahoma Sierra Club.
“To change everything, we need everyone,” Batchelder said.
For more information, contact Nathaniel at 405-524-5577. To find an event near you, visit globalclimatemarch.org.