There are voices that describe the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, as tremendous for proclaiming that “the era of boiling has arrived.” They accuse him of sowing alarmism, despite the fact that the summer of 2023 is the hottest in history, the summer of fires, hurricanes and floods.
Saprina, 20 years old and a university student, is one of the thousands of people who are demonstrating in New York this Sunday to demand the end of fossil fuels to combat the climate emergency. The protest, supported by more than 400 scientists and 500 organizations, is prior to the Climate Ambition Summit on Wednesday within the framework of the General Assembly of the United Nations Organization that begins this week.
“There is no economy in a dead world,” proclaims one of the hundreds of banners on Broadway Avenue, next to Central Park, the starting point.
“What Guterres said seems correct and accurate to me,” responds Saprina, who is wearing another eloquent sign: “I do not vote for fires and floods,” it reads. “Language must be used that scares and creates panic. It is the only way for people to pay attention and see that we are at a crucial moment. We have to mobilize because, otherwise, this is over,” she adds.
After the break marked by the pandemic, this march tries to connect with the great protest four years ago, on the eve of the teenage activist Greta Thunberg who will show the colors of global leaders in that General Assembly.
On this occasion, although participation falls, spirit does not fall, or rather, anger towards a political class that, as Sofie Schoch, an 18-year-old university student, points out, is a gerontocracy anchored in the past.
“We need young people and new ideas so that the future is not a dark cloud,” Sofie prescribes. She has made a hand-made poster that reads: “You will die of old age, we will die from climate change.”
Another banner, displayed by an older activist: “No to wars for fossil fuels or for fossil politicians.”
So in this environment, where Donald Trump is the evil one, the supposed ally, President Joe Biden, is being asked to fulfill the promises he made through the megaphone of power.
Although he recently signed a ban on drilling in part of Alaska's virgin territory, Biden, who is not scheduled to attend Wednesday's summit, is blamed for endorsing the exploitation of Willow in that same region, the largest project in recent decades. The protesters' chants repeat the request that he reverse this project, stop drilling in general and declare a climate emergency.
If there is something about this march, it is that it is a reflection of American society, the real one, from grandparents to grandchildren, of all races, with a diversity of origins and languages. This is underlined by actress Susan Sarandon, one of the many celebrities participating. She defines herself as an “angry grandmother.”
And remember other words from Antonio Guterres, “increasing temperatures demand increased action.”
According to Sarandon, “we cannot waste a minute, we are in an emergency.” And he emphasizes that this march seeks to put pressure on Biden, president of the country “number one in oil and gas production.”
And he adds: “There is no way to deny that the world is in danger and maybe even has passed the fucking tipping point.”