Oakton Outlook

Cougars make history at People’s Climate March

Oakton students Hannah Piester and Veronica Silva march in Manhattan among 310,000 people to advocate for climate change.

Oakton students Hannah Piester and Veronica Silva march in Manhattan among 310,000 people to advocate for climate change.

Oakton students Hannah Piester and Veronica Silva march in Manhattan among 310,000 people to advocate for climate change.

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Today in Manhattan, history was made. According to TIME Magazine, the People’s Climate March broke records and became the world’s largest demonstration of collective environmentalists, ever. More than 300,000 people– from all over the world– traveled to take part in the movement. To put that in perspective, the audience of Marin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech capped at an estimated 250,000 people; needless to say, this was a huge deal. Oakton seniors Veronica Silva and Hannah Piester took part in the movement, leaving their footprints on a groundbreaking campaign to combat carbon emissions.

The march took place as a prelude to the climate-change summit of the United Nations that will meet this Tuesday, September 23. World leaders will congregate in Manhattan to discuss carbon emissions, and how regulations can be imposed. From the tip of the island, all the way to United Nations building, footsteps taken by protestors boomed a unanimous agreement: people care about the planet, and something must be done to salvage its already depleted remains.

“The goal was to bring attention to the global climate issue and create a conversation for UN leaders to take action.” said Silva. “We hope they took notice of how many people care about this issue, and actually create change.”

During the protest, Silva and Piester marched with Greenpeace, an international eco organization that the two volunteered with this past summer. They walked from the upper end of the island, 82nd street, all the way to the downtown district, holding signs that communicated their expectations for change.

Silva described the scene as “the furthest thing from anger you could possibly imagine,” stating that, although people were passionate, upset and determined, there wasn’t a sense of aggression among the crowd. The environment was not judgmental, either. Both Silva and Piester recalled hearing music playing and seeing participants dressed in eccentric outfits that acted as visual representations of the negative effects of climate change.  Everybody was gathered for the same reason, which gave 310,000 strangers a sudden sense of intimate community.

"For me I felt like I was a part of something so much greater than myself, with people who all felt the same way and that's what made it so important. The feeling of taking a stand for something you truly believe in is one of the most amazing feelings in the world and I wouldn't trade it for anything." said senior Veronica Silva. (right)

For those who wish to become an extension of that community, join Piester and Silva on their mission to combat global warming, ask them about their newest endeavor– Greenpeace’s “Act for Arctic” campaign– or read more about it here. Piester is co-president of the Oakton Environmental club, and encourages any interested students to come to the next meeting in October.

“Today I realized that I am not alone in this fight and I should never refrain from taking action just because a problem seems daunting;” said Piester, “everyone can make an impact in some way.”






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Cougars make history at People’s Climate March