November 29, 2015 was the inaugural People’s Climate March Atlanta. Emory University’s Graduate Sustainability Group, the Sierra Club, Georgia Interfaith Power & Light, the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, the Turner Foundation and many more groups marched alongside 550 Atlanta residents to call for strong climate action at the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference.
The march began at the Old Fourth Ward Skate Park at 2 p.m. and ended outside the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. Stephanie Stuckey Benfield from the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability and Reverend Dr. Gerald Durley with The Generation Project will speak before the march, along with representatives from the Indigenous Environmental Network. Several other guest speakers addressed the crowd at the march’s end.
“Climate change is serious, but it is a problem that we can face with courage and ingenuity, rather than fatalism and denial,” said Chris Cuomo, philosophy professor at UGA and secretary of the Georgia Climate Change Coalition. “From high school students to senior citizens, from farmers and lawyers to engineers and educators, people in Georgia came out in full force on November 29.”
“A key part of the solution to climate change is bold action at the local level,” added Jairo H. Garcia, Sustainability Management Analyst with the City of Atlanta, Mayor’s Office of Sustainability. “Atlanta is taking the lead as a world-class, sustainable city with our Climate Action Plan, and this march was a clear demonstration of Atlanta’s leadership.”
The day after our march, the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris began. At that meeting, world leaders made critical decisions that will impact generations to come—including committing to limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. “The COP talks in Paris are a pivotal moment in this fight against climate change,” said Colleen McLoughlin, solar campaign organizer with Environment Georgia. “This march was about showing our support for strong climate action once and for all.”