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Greta Thunberg speaking in New York
Greta Thunberg speaking in New Yorkphotography Meryl Meisler

Photos from New York’s record-breaking Global Climate Strike

Led by Greta Thunberg, thousands of people marched across the world to demand action during the Western Hemisphere’s hottest summer on record

It was a warm, sunny day for the NYC Climate Strike on September 20, 2019, the second to last day of summer. According to NOAA, the Summer of 2019 was the hottest on record for the Northern Hemisphere. There were student strikes on every continent of the earth, inspired by Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old student activist from Sweden. 

In NYC, a sea of people, with crowds estimated at between 60,000 to 250,000 marched from the court houses on Foley Square to Battery Park, demanding action on the climate crisis.  The welcoming and opening ceremony was led by Sachem HawkStorm, Hereditary Chief of the Schaghticoke First Nations. NYC student activists who led the successful ban on the use of styrofoam in NYC schools were among the speakers. One high school speaker who immigrated from Bangladesh said that she remembers that she had to be carried everywhere as a child because of the rising waters. 

In the midst of the day’s heat, there were several calls for medics. A person standing next to this reporter fainted. When the ill were cared for, the speakers and performers resumed.

The crowd chanted “Greta, Greta, Greta,” as Greta Thunberg took to the stage.

Composed, calm and determined, Greta said she came from a place very different from the United States yet it was the same; politicians wanting to take selfies with the young activist instead of enacting policy, “This is the biggest climate strike in the history of the world.” “Change is coming whether they like it or not,” she said, “Do you think they hear us?”

Many of the speakers reminded the youthful audience that they have a very powerful tool- they can vote. They have to vote to tackle climate change! For those who still question climate change, look up to the skies. Scientists report that the number of birds in the United States and Canada has fallen by 29 percent since 1970. In the past 50 years, there are 2.9 million fewer birds. Like the canary in a coal mine, the birds are giving us an advanced warning of danger.

Each of us has to take a stand and do something to tackle climate change; individuals, families, community and at larger global levels. We are in this together. Future generations depend on us.