More Than 300,000 Marchers in Last Weekend’s People’s Climate March

Hertzberg-Climate-March-2-690Climate change is the most consequential issue we face today.  In this country, mostly due to the lunatic extremism of the GOP and its funders, it has become a he-said-she-said issue in which scientists and other experts do battle and the public is left to wonder who’s right and how much it matters.

The fact that something in excess of 95% of scientific opinion comes down on the “climate change is real and we need to do something about it” side of the question gets drowned out by the deep pockets of the deniers and the public is left confused and enervated, unable to make sense of it and thus sidelined.

Until this last weekend, that is.

Last weekend something in excess of 300,000 folks marched in New York (near the UN, where world leaders were set to gather) in the People’s Climate March, the largest climate march in history.  At the same time other marchers gathered at other events around the world to deliver the same message.  2646 events in 162 countries around the world.  Most of us didn’t hear much about it, probably because there weren’t many celebrities there giving headline speeches.  But that many people marching to draw attention to something tends to … well, draw attention to it.

If the problem until now has been, as Professor Krugman has argued, that scientific consensus isn’t enough in the face of the indifference or silence of the public, then maybe that obstacle is finally beginning to be overcome.  Here’s Hendrick Hertzberg:

In an interview before the march with’s Jay Caspian Kang, McKibben said that, while the facts about global warming, which he has been writing about for twenty-five years, are established and irrefutable, “that turns out not to be how change works. It took me a long time to realize that the scientists had won the argument but were going to lose the fight, because it isn’t about data and science, it’s about power.” McKibben recalled that, eight years ago, when “without any idea how to do it” he organized his first climate-change march, only a thousand people showed up:

The papers the next day called it the biggest climate-change demonstration to have taken place in the United States. When I read that, I said, No wonder we’re getting our butts kicked. We have the superstructure of a movement—scientists and lobbyists and policymakers. The only thing we’ve forgotten is the movement. There’re no people there.

Now there are.