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The Independent SEPTEMBER 21, 2014 - by Tom Bawden
THE PEOPLE'S CLIMATE MARCH
For seventy-two hours the world takes to the streets and tells leaders: 'Act now on climate change'.
It promises to be an unparalleled demonstration of the world's fury at its leaders' continued failure to tackle climate change: an unprecedented statement by hundreds of thousands of people.
Today, and for the next two days, before a key meeting on climate change at the UN in New York, protesters will take to the streets, from Papua New Guinea to central London.
Campaigners say the cost of climate change - estimated at six-hundred-and-fifty million people affected, a hundred-and-twelve thousand lives lost, hundreds of billions of pounds in the past five years alone - must produce real commitments from world leaders.
Before Tuesday's summit, when the UK Government will sign up to a new reforestation commitment, two thousand rallies and protests are planned across a hundred-and-fifty countries.
In London, thousands are expected at the People's Climate March this lunchtime, walking from Victoria Embankment Gardens to Parliament Square, including Emma Thompson, Peter Gabriel and Vivienne Westwood.
Meanwhile, in New York, organisers are anticipating more than a hundred-thousand people. In a highly unusual campaigning appearance, the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, will be among them, as will Lionel Messi, Brian Eno, Susan Sarandon, William Shatner and Kiefer Sutherland.
In rural Papua New Guinea, primary school students will march to a nearby lighthouse which is becoming submerged as sea levels rise.
"There's a vast latent constituency of people out there alarmed about climate change," said Ricken Patel, head of the Avaaz campaign group helping to organise the rallies. "But, for years, nobody has put up a banner that said that 'this is the time, this is the place, to show that you care'. The People's Climate March is that banner."