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.