By Jessica Corbett / Common Dreams
Building on actions that kicked off earlier in the week, activists on Saturday hosted hundreds of #RiseForClimate demonstrations across all seven continents, drawing massive crowds “to demand our local leaders commit to building a fossil-free world that puts people and justice before profits.”
There were more than 900 actions in 95 countries, according to the searchable database that enables those interested to locate protests in their area.
The main event was the Rise for Climate, Jobs, and Justice march in San Francisco, California, which brought together some 30,000 people and is being hailed as the West Coast’s largest climate march ever.
The San Francisco march began “with a moment of silence solidarity with those at the frontlines of the climate crisis, and who have already suffered from its impacts,” according to 350.org, but then took on a more energized tone as participants marched and sang, “The people gonna rise like the water, we gonna calm this crisis down. I hear the voice of my great-granddaughter, singing keep it in the ground!”
“Nothing marks a defining moment like thousands of people from every corner of the globe moving in unity and asking with one voice all governments to go 100 percent renewable energy,” noted Wael Hmaidan, executive director of Climate Action Network International.
“The only acceptable response by leaders,” Hmaidan said, “would be higher ambition and stronger commitments for an energy transformation that will eradicate poverty, created jobs and secured health, and prosperity in their countries.”
Capturing the determined spirit of the actions, Paul Getsos, national director of Peoples Climate Movement, added, “We won’t stop until we’ve won a 100 percent clean and renewable energy economy that protects our planet, livelihoods, and democracy.”
From Paris, France to Africa, Australia, and Antarctica, participants and supporters shared photos and videos of the actions with the hashtag #RiseForClimate:
— CREDO Mobile (@CREDOMobile) September 8, 2018
— Bill McKibben (@billmckibben) September 8, 2018
Youth organizers, including members of the Sunrise movement and Zero Hour, also planned actions worldwide:
The #RiseForClimate Jobs & Justice march is officially underway! This is the largest climate mobilization in West Coast history, and one of 900+ around the world.
— Sunrise Bay Area 🌅 (@sunrisebayarea) September 8, 2018
Sunrise co-founder Varshini Prakash said Thursday that the youth movement “is transforming young people’s outrage at witnessing a lifetime of inaction on climate change into grassroots political power and making clear to our leaders: take bold action to stop this crisis, our generation demands it, and will not settle for anything less.”
The #RiseForClimate events come ahead of the Global Climate Action Summit that California Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, will host in San Francisco next week. Brown is under pressure from constituents, local activists, other elected leaders in his state, and now, protesters around the world, to live up to his stated commitment to climate action by implementing bold policies that the global crisis requires.