At 12:58pm we’re holding a moment of silence in commemoration of the victims of climate change worldwide—and at 1:00pm we’ll sound the climate alarm.
The march is being led by communities directly impacted by the climate and economic crises, and indigenous groups from around the continent and the world. At 12:58, we’ll hold a moment of silence to honor those already lost or feeling the impacts. When you see people start linking hands and holding them above their heads, that’s the sign the moment of silence is beginning.
At 1:00pm we are going to end that moment of silence with a great, big noise—sounding the climate alarm that has been ignored for too long. You’ll know it’s time to ring that alarm and make as much noise as you can when you hear 32 marching bands blowing their horns and church bells ring from around the city (make sure bring your own noisemakers).
Coordinating tens of thousands of people in the streets like this is difficult—to help pull it off, please use your cell phone to text ALARM to 97779. We’ll send you a message that marks the moment of silence on Sunday and some basic instructions to help spread the word.
The second silence is more significant and more powerful. It will last two minutes, from 12:58 to 1:00 p.m., and it is in commemoration of those who are the first victims of the fossil fuel industry. Some of those will be on hand -- the march is being led by frontline communities and indigenous groups from around the continent and the world, people who've watched their lands and neighborhoods wrecked by tarsands mining or fracking wells or stinking refineries, or by superstorms and megadroughts. Far more of these frontline communities will be watching from afar, in the more than 2,000 solidarity demonstrations in 152 countries. For me, this will be the most powerful part of the day, a chance to reflect on all the people I've met in the 25 years since I started writing about this mess: the people dying of dengue in Bangladeshi clinics, or rallying in the Maldives to save their homes which sit a few feet above the seas; the people even this week dying in the flooded fields of Kashmir as record flooding wrecks their meager livelihood.
And not the people alone. Yes, this is the People's Climate March, but we rally as well for the rest of creation -- for the half of species on this planet that will blink out this century if we can't bring this scourge under control. It's not wrong to shed a quiet tear for the beauty of this sweet planet.
Nor for all those people we can barely imagine, who will have to live in a world we've degraded and impoverished. Climate change is one of the most destructive things human beings have ever done; this short silence is a moment to plumb the depths of sadness and despair that have brought us together. In the normal bustle of Manhattan this silence should haunt and echo.