‘A Reckoning’: 500 Groups Endorse March To End Fossil Fuels
A total of 500 international, national, and local organizations have endorsed the September 17 March to End Fossil Fuels in New York City, leaders behind the event announced Tuesday.
The march comes ahead of U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres' Climate Ambition Summit and follows a summer of fossil-fueled extreme weather that smothered the Northeast and Midwest in wildfire smoke, flooded the streets of Vermont's state capital, devastated the town of Lahaina in Maui, and baked Phoenix under 31 days of more than 110°F heat.
"It's never been more clear than now–a summer of record heat, deadly fires, and devastating floods–that we need to unite to put an end to fossil fuels," Oil Change International U.S. program manager Allie Rosenbluth said in a statement. "Every new fossil fuel project is incompatible with a livable future."
Oil Change International is one of the march's main organizers, along with the Center for Biological Diversity, the Center for Popular Democracy, Climate Organizing Hub, Food & Water Watch, Fridays For Future USA & NYC, Earthworks, Greenfaith, Indigenous Environmental Network, New York Communities for Change, and Oil & Gas Action Network.
They have been joined more recently by the Sunrise Movement, the Sierra Club, and the NAACP, as well as by prominent activists and progressive politicians like Jane Fonda, Bill McKibben, Naomi Klein, Mark Ruffalo, Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), and Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.), and Tennessee State Rep. Justin Pearson.
The march will call President Joe Biden to stop approving new fossil fuel projects, end oil and gas drilling on public lands, declare a climate emergency, and ensure a just transition to renewable energy that provides good jobs and respects local communities.
"With 500 organizations strong, the March to End Fossil Fuels isn't a request, it's a demand for President Biden to enact actionable solutions that match the scale of the crisis at hand," Olivia Leirer, co-executive director of New York Communities for Change, said in a statement.
The march comes as Republican candidates are already jostling to decide who will face Biden in the 2024 presidential election, and younger activists warned that Biden's approval of carbon bombs like the Willow Project or the Mountain Valley Pipeline could hurt him with the youth voters who helped him win in 2020.
"In the past three years many of us have lost the passion and hope we originally had when fighting for Biden," Fridays For Future NYC Organizer Noa Greene-Houvras said in a statement. "We have watched him approve pipelines and fossil fuel projects that youth have consistently pushed against. The same voices that called him to the presidency are now calling on him to take bold climate action."
Organizers also emphasize the impact that the burning of oil, gas, and coal and the pollution and extreme weather it generates have on communities across the country, especially low-income or minority communities.
"The current reliance on fossil fuels is literally killing Black Americans," NAACP director for the Center for Environmental and Climate Justice Abre' Conner said in a statement. "Black elders are three times more likely to die from air quality-related issues and Black youth continue to suffer the impacts of living in communities that are more likely to house fossil fuel plants and other toxic waste incinerators."
"This is an emergency," Conner added. "For Black communities to have any hope of a just and sustainable future, we must act now."
The New York march is part of a larger international escalation against fossil fuels launched in June and timed for the weekend before Guterress' September 20 summit, which asks nations for the first time to present plans for phasing out fossil fuels and ceasing production of the climate-warming energy sources.
It will begin from 56th Street and Broadway at 1 pm Eastern Daylight Time, move down Broadway to 52nd Street, and then follow 52nd Street to First Avenue for a rally at First and 50th outside U.N. headquarters. Organizers expect thousands of participants, and to join them, you can RSVP here.
"We demand President Biden wield his power, to usher in the end of fossil fuels so our planet and people can thrive," Rosenbluth said. "We join together for the March to End Fossil Fuels, not just to ask for change, but for a reckoning."