Central Park’s Bethesda Fountain served as Labor Day’s initial backdrop for more than 100 people gathered to march against climate change.
“We’re a part of a global movement. We’re a part of a long arc of fighting for justice, for environmental justice, for climate justice,” organizing member of Extinction Rebellion, Shea Riester said.
XR, as it is known, states that it uses “non-violent rebellion against the US government for its criminal inaction on the ecological crisis,” according to the organization’s website.
However, the group has received quite a bit of criticism for a number of tactics, including the use of mass arrests to cause disruption; more on that below.
Before starting the march, organizers held what they called a “grief ritual,” which included live speakers, songs or chants, and “blood” made of corn syrup and food coloring poured onto the ground mosaic in front of Bethesda Fountain.
Participants of all ages held up signs reading, “Tell the Truth,” “Act Now,” “The Amazon Fires Are Worse in 2020,” “1,000,000 million species at risk of Extinction,” and “189,000 Dead from Covid-19 in US.”
One marcher, Keith Goldstein, attended with his family. “We’re out here about concern for environment, global warming,” he said, with his wife holding a flag reading “Save Our Oceans.”
Goldstein’s 11 year old son, Ethan, also marched, carrying a flag with a symbol of an hourglass, explaining why he was there: “Well, I want to protect the environment, animals and plants and everybody on Earth,” he said.
The group made its way up the stairs underneath the West 72nd Street Traverse, through the Mall and across Sheep Meadow.
The group then headed towards Columbus Circle, its final destination.
This is where three protesters were arrested for scaling the Columbus Circle globe, while a jazz ensemble performed below.
Equipped with helmets and climbing ropes, the trio unfurled a flag reading “Climate Justice Now” before being apprehended, at which point some in the crowd cheered and supported the three with words of support, including “we love you.”
Lee Uehara is not only a journalist and documentary-style photographer, she is also the host of the podcast, House of Lee NYC. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and many other news outlets through her work as a former reporter for The Associated Press. You can usually spot her in the neighborhood walking her dog with a camera in hand. Visit HouseOfLeeNYC.com and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.