By Marivir R. Montebon
“We have treated the Earth as we have treated the women of Earth: suppression, destruction, brutality, and exploitation. All of humankind is now reaping the deathly harvest of this sowing – with the exception of the corporate owners and their lackeys who are the ones who the have means to survive.”
Ninotchka Rosca, AF3IRM New York
New York City — The Big Apple pulled off Sunday the largest contingent of rallyists in the world-wide call for changes on environmental policies to open the UN climate summit on Monday, September 22.
From New Yorkers to denizens in New Jersey, Texas, Maine, Connecticut, Hawaii, and other states across the country, estimated to be 400,000 people articulated the problems of and solutions to the environment and economy on their placards.
About 150 countries worldwide also launched their climate marches to call on their governments to seriously take measures to curb extreme climate disturbances. While consumers have their share in contributing to the emission of greenhouse gases that create disturbing climate changes, large corporations on petroleum are mainly responsible for these large-scale emissions.
“Let’s all go vegan. It will take a long time for corporations to stop using fossil fuel,” shouts an advocate for vegetarianism on 6th Avenue.
Transnational feminist leader and Filipina novelist Ninotchka Rosca of the group AF3IRM shares her reflection on climate change: “We have treated the Earth as we have treated the women of Earth: suppression, destruction, brutality, and exploitation. All of humankind is now reaping the deathly harvest of this sowing – with the exception of the corporate owners and their lackeys who are the ones who the have means to survive.”
Unions, community organizations, women’s groups, student organizations, and sectoral groups marched from noon to 5 o’clock in the afternoon, beneath overcast skies.
The United Autoworkers Union (UAW) spelled out “climate justice is labor justice” and goes to say that a healthy planet ensures good jobs for everyone.
A rallyist who flew all the way from Dallas, Texas wore her placard during the march saying, “solar power is the answer.” From Detroit, the placards said, “Don’t frack with US.”
There were also international delegations from Finland, Germany, Canada, and China.
Global warming is attributed mainly to the use of fossil fuel (burning of coal, natural gas, and petroleum oil for electricity), which is 26% of the recorded 2004 global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This is followed by industry at 19% for onsite facilities of energy.
Land Use, Land-Use Change, and Forestry account for 17% of 2004 global greenhouse gas emissions. This includes carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from deforestation, land clearing for agriculture, and fires or decay of peat soils.
Emissions from agriculture is recorded at 14% of 2004 GHG emissions, mostly coming from the management of agricultural soils, livestock, rice production, and biomass burning.
Greenhouse gas emissions from transportation account for 13% of the 2004 GHG emissions which involves fossil fuels burned for road, rail, air, and marine transportation. The EPA said almost all (95%) of the world’s transportation energy comes from petroleum-based fuels, largely gasoline and diesel.
Commercial and residential buildings account for 8% of 2004 global greenhouse gas emissions, rising from on-site energy generation and burning fuels for heat in buildings or cooking in homes.
Waste and wastewater is accountable for 3% of 2004 global greenhouse gas emissions, with the sectors as landfill methane (CH4), wastewater methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) as contributors to global warming. Incineration of some waste products that were made with fossil fuels, such as plastics and synthetic textiles, also results in minor emissions of CO2.
When the UN Summit on Climate Change opens tomorrow Monday, the world may have more critical eyes and ears on how government leaders walk the talk on environmental protection.
Philippine president Benigno Aquino Jr. will address the UN Climate change summit tomorrow, and New York community leader Lumen Castaneda says she hopes he will walk the talk on environmental policy changes in the Philippines.
The Philippines was hit by Haiyan, the world’s strongest typhoon last year. To date, a pro-active and sustainable economic and environmental development plan needs to be instituted in the country.
The largest rally which New York has ever seen ended at dusk of Sunday, with the clearest message to unite to take care of the Earth, because “there is no planet B.”