When the big climate march is over, some believe it’s time for a flood. As world leaders meet for a historic UN Climate Summit on September 22, people from across the globe — dressed in blue — will hold a mass sit-in to confront the corporate and economic institutions that they believe are causing the climate crisis. It comes a day after the People’s Climate March, slated to be the largest climate change-related march in history.
“Runaway climate change and extreme weather events, such as the extreme flooding that we saw here in New York City with Hurricane Sandy, are fueled by the fossil fuel industry,” says Michael Premo, an organizer of the action who was also a driving force in the Occupy Sandy recovery effort. “We are flooding Wall Street because we know that there’s no greater cause of runaway climate change than an economic system that puts profit before people — and before the planet.”
Flood Wall Street is a response to a call for non-violent direct action made by the Climate Justice Alliance, a coalition of people of color and working-class organizations. “Join us as we meet the scale and urgency of the crisis,” says the call, “by standing in solidarity with all frontlines of resistance and resilience around the world, and taking non-violent direct action against the corporations driving the extractive economy.” Organizers include Occupy Wall Street veterans, student divestment activists, housing activists, artists, and more.
On Monday, September 22, thousands of people are expected to converge in Battery Park for a demonstration beginning at 9 a.m., featuring speeches by author-activists Naomi Klein, Chris Hedges, and Rebecca Solnit. Beginning at around noon, participants will march to the heart of the Financial District and conduct a mass sit-in, risking arrest.
The action represents a significant escalation from the People’s Climate March, which is not expected to include civil disobedience. “As so many people come to New York to express their concern about climate change, this sit-in is an opportunity to call for an end to the abusive economic systems that enable corporate polluters,” says Sandy Nurse, an environmental activist based in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn. “It’s time to stop funding fossil fuels and to hold the institutions fueling this crisis accountable.”
The Flood Wall Street action is also meant to highlight the leadership of people most impacted by climate change — indigenous peoples, communities of color and low-income neighborhoods. “Communities that are first and most impacted by storms, floods and droughts are also on the frontlines of fighting the dig, burn, dump economy causing climate change,” said Michael Leon Guerrero of the Climate Justice Alliance. “We are flooding Wall Street to stop its financing of planetary destruction, and make way for living economies that benefit people and planet.”
9:00 a.m. – Gathering at Battery Park for breakfast and music from the Rude Mechanical Orchestra
9:30 a.m. – Speakers including frontline community leaders of the Climate Justice Alliance, Naomi Klein, Rebecca Solnit and Chris Hedges
11:30 a.m. – March begins
12:00 p.m. – Flood Wall Street and mass sit-in near New York Stock Exchange