Monday, after the historic 400,000 People's Climate March (PCM) the day previous, over 4,000 students, professors, scientists, activists, journalists, and others marched on Wall Street to demand an end to capitalism. With the hashtag "FloodWallStreet" the photos and stories from this march have trended Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites all week. The protestors and their demands were simple: end the capitalistic system that is not only vastly accelerating global climate change, but disproportionately affecting members communities on the front lines of extreme energy extraction.
Before the Flood, speakers included impacted front line residents like youth activist Ta’Kaiya Blaney who explained that recently in her community oil sludge trailing ponds spilled into two of the world’s biggest salmon runs. Mamadou Goïta, the socio-economist and executive director of the Institute for Research and the Promotion of Alternatives in Development (IRPAD) in Mali, similarly said, “[The United States] is a typical example of criminal acts caused by corporations…over dead bodies, corporations are making money.” The need was expressed to see an immediate shift away from capitalism and the destructive habits it fosters as a system that thrives on political corruption and greed.
Following the People’s Climate March, #FloodWallStreet was one of the first steps of humanity taking bold action on climate change. Coincidentally, or perhaps maybe not so coincidentally, on the same day as the Flood, the Rockefellers and 700 other investors said they were divesting from the oil business in order to follow a path of cleaner energy alternatives and directly linked the decision to climate change. Not to mention, 346 investors worth over $25 trillion released a letter calling for an “international deal on policy changes to address the financial threat of climate change.”
A lot of people say that the People’s Climate March had no real impact, but looking at the attendance of #FloodWallStreet and the responses from investors, it’s clear the climate movement is making big waves (pun most assuredly intended). The energy and strategies I saw this weekend ensured me that we’re making progress in this movement and the best is yet to come. But that doesn’t mean we need to wait for huge actions like the PCM. Instead, we’re calling on people to get involved in their communities and fight small wars on the front lines of Fracking, Tar Sands, Coal, and other extreme energy extraction processes that hugely contribute to climate change. By changing our communities and inspiring others we can change the world. And indeed—as the science shows—we must.
All photos by Spencer H. Johnson