Did you go on one of the climate marches in September? As a confirmed march-sceptic, I approached the London event with caution. I’ve long seen marches as one of the least impactful tools in the activist’s toolbox: they are so easily dismissed and ignored, by politicians, the media and non-marchers alike. But this one felt different.
I was in the midst of pulling together this issue, exploring how we bring about the end of the oil age. So it was thrilling to watch from across the pond as the record-breaking 400,000-strong New York march was led through the streets of Manhattan by people at the forefront of the struggle to keep the oil in the ground. First Nations from the tar sands ‘sacrifice zone’ in Canada marched with representatives of Native communities fighting pipelines and Indigenous Amazon villagers threatened by drilling. Young people of colour living next to health-destroying oil refineries marched with Gulf Coast residents devastated by Hurricane Katrina and the BP Deepwater Horizon spill.
The march gave us a glimpse of the movement that could – indeed, must – end the oil age. It’s diverse, enormous, multi-pronged, and led by those who, forced to live daily with the devastation caused by fossil fuels, are genuinely starting to stop Big Oil in its tracks.
Elsewhere in the magazine, the significance of the People’s Climate March is explored in more depth by Mark Engler, and Naomi Klein talks about her brilliant new book on how climate change gives us a shot at a more equal, democratic world.
In the face of multiple ecological crises, hope seems to be rising again. I encourage you to get involved.
Jess Worth for the New Internationalist co-operative.
Change is coming. Jess Worth examines whether growing pressure for divestment and disruption can knock Big Oil off its perch.
In September 2014, the $860 million Rockefeller Foundation made an historic announcement. Timed to coincide with massive marches for climate action all over the world, the fund revealed it was going to divest from fossil fuels. Following in the footsteps of the World Council of Churches, the British Medical Association and Stanford University, the latest major institution to make such an announcement is also the most symbolic. Because the Rockefeller fortune owes its very existence to oil.