On September 21, 60 Haverford students will take to the streets of New York City for the People’s Climate March, projected to be the largest climate march in history with 250,000 attendees.
The objective of the march is to send a message to world leaders, who will be gathering in NYC on September 23 for a United Nations summit on climate change. The summit is headed by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who will push for a sweeping global resolution aimed at reducing climate pollution to become a reality in 2015.
The trip is being organized by Haverfordians for a Livable Future (HFL), an on-campus environmental and climate justice group. HFL made waves on campus in 2013 with its “Divest Haverford” campaign, part of an international movement that encouraged institutions to remove investments and endowment assets from fossil-fuel companies.
“It’s such an accessible march, because it’s just about mitigating climate change in a way that respects both the environment and the economy,” said HFL member Eve Gutman ‘15. “We use a phrase called “just transition” which is about pursuing the very possible way of transition from our dirty energy economy to a clean energy economy in a way that doesn’t further marginalize the already marginalized, and provides jobs.”
HFL has received funding from the Office of Quaker Affairs and 350.org, a climate change organization that provides support to college and university divestment campaigns. The Office of Quaker Affairs has also helped to plan the logistics of the trip, which includes an option to arrive on Saturday and participate in a non-violent direct action protest organized by the Earth Quaker Action Team, a nonviolent social action organization.
The protest will take place in a PNC bank branch, a target of EQAT’s ongoing campaign to pressure the bank to stop providing financial support to coal companies who use mountaintop removal coal mining practices. Students who sign up for this portion of the trip will stay overnight in a Quaker Meetinghouse in NYC.
“The direct action is more intimate in that it’s not a quarter of a million people, and it’s like a different type of doing action that’s still fun and still peaceful,” said Gutman. “So I’m excited to have that balance and go with some students and experience those two things.”
Walter Sullivan, Director of Quaker Affairs, will be accompanying students next weekend. Sullivan was arrested last October during Power Shift, an EQAT civil disobedience protest held in Pittsburgh at another PNC bank branch. However, students have no risk of being arrested at Saturday’s demonstration.
“For a number of reasons, we are not able to provide jail support in New York,” explained Sullivan, “and therefore, no civil disobedience is planned as part of the action and we do not expect any arrests to take place.”
For more information on the trip and the sign-up sheet, visit this link: https://docs.google.com/a/haverford.edu/forms/d/1-rMAtVn4g2rlUu2bu75ZVoZhp1sLuN0gCGNMsSQXcoI/viewform