People’s Climate March

Climate change impacts everyone, everywhere – but the effects of climate change are not distributed equally. Frontline communities, from across the United States and the Global South, are most vulnerable to climate change and must therefore play an integral role in planning for transformational change.

In the winter of 2014, NYC-EJA, our members and other key partners began organizing a response to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s call for world leaders to gather at a global Climate Summit in September 2014. That response became the People’s Climate March – the cornerstone of a week of grassroots action in response to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s challenge.

NYC-EJA was a key partner and co-coordinator of the historic People’s Climate March – a climate mobilization unmatched in size, diversity, and impact. With an estimated 400,000 participants, 1,500 organizational sponsors, and over 2,000 solidarity marches and rallies across the globe, the People’s Climate March in September 2014 was the largest climate march in history.

NYC-EJA’s participation in the People’s Climate March was an extension of our work advocating for community resiliency and climate justice in New York City’s low-income communities and communities of color. As a member of the Climate Justice Alliance, we are working with frontline communities across the United States to address climate change and advocate for a just transition. As a co-facilitator of the NY-NJ Host Committee, NYC-EJA helped build a growing network of labor unions, environmental justice organizations, social justice, community-based organizations, faith-based organizations, organizers, artists, and environmentalists to mobilize for the People’s Climate March. For more information see NYTimes article: Taking a Call for Climate Change to the Streets.

With the advent of the Trump administration, which has declared its intent to withdraw from the 2015 Paris agreement, the People’s Climate Movement (the successor formation of the People’s Climate March) mobilized another mass march in April 2017.

People’s Climate March Wrap-Up


People’s Climate Justice Summit

The Climate Justice Alliance, including the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance, Indigenous Environmental Network and other allies, hosted a two-day People’s Climate Justice Summit following the People’s Climate March in September 2014. The summit was concurrent with the Climate Leaders Assembly convened by the UN General Secretary Ban Ki Moon in New York City. The Summit delegates convened at the UN Church Center, directly across the street from the UN, and the proceedings were live-streamed for public viewing at The New School on both days. The Summit convened a meeting of frontline community delegations from across the U.S. and around the world – that are both organizing against the root causes of climate change, and cultivating real solutions to address these causes. For more information see archived videos of the People Climate Justice Summit.

For environmental justice communities, resiliency is not about “bouncing back” to an inequitable system where people of color and low-income people are disproportionately burdened. Resiliency means “bouncing forward” to a more just, more sustainable future.

NYC-EJA is actively working to leverage the momentum of the March to achieve long-term resiliency goals in New York City. As part of the People’s Climate March planning, NYC-EJA, our members and allies successfully engaged with Mayor de Blasio’s Administration and the New York City Council to unveil bold climate policy initiatives to coincide with the People’s Climate March. NYC-EJA and our member organizations are committed to building on the promise of the March to effect tangible change in our communities. In the lead up to the March, the City showed signs of commitment to continued engagement on climate issues:

  • The NYC Council approved a resolution endorsing the People’s Climate March;
  • The NYC Council announced a comprehensive platform to combat climate change and to reduce the city’s carbon footprint through a set of legislative proposals; and
  • Mayor de Blasio announced an unprecedented plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% in NYC by 2050 (known as “80 by 50”).

NYC-EJA members and our allies in vulnerable communities will continue to advocate for policies that result in long-term benefits to community resiliency. The long-term horizon for resiliency planning makes it challenging to advocate for public policies that advance healthy, sustainable communities while addressing existing economic, social, and environmental disparities.

For more information on similar initiatives, see NYC-EJA’s Waterfront Justice Project and Community Resiliency.