More than 2,500 from Philly area expected at NYC climate march

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     Protesters shout slogans as they march near the Presidential Palace in Manila to call on Philippine President Benigno Aquino III to focus on

    Protesters shout slogans as they march near the Presidential Palace in Manila to call on Philippine President Benigno Aquino III to focus on "climate justice" when he speaks before the U.N. Climate Change Summit in New York Sept. 23. About 2,500 demonstrators from the Philadelphia are are expected to take part in a New York rally next week as part of the People's Climate March. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

    Local organizers are expecting more than 2,500 people from the Philadelphia region to travel to New York City Sunday for a major climate-change rally.

    They hope the People’s Climate March will be the largest climate mobilization in history and affect a U.N. climate summit starting Sept. 23.

    Aarati Kasturirangan, with the group 350 Philadelphia, said the environmental, labor, faith-based and community groups supporting the event represent a broad cross-section of society.

    “We’re thinking of this as a tipping point to say hey, wake up, we’re here, we are mighty, we are numerous, we are from all over, we are all different kinds of people, and we are telling you it’s time to take action now,” Kasturirangan said.

    At a meeting room at the Friends Center in Center City last week, Kasturirangan organized about a dozen volunteers in painting cardboard signs and spelling out “People’s Climate March” on a large tapestry made of pieced-together saris.

    Organizers say more than 50 buses will take activists from the greater Philadelphia area to Manhattan on the day of the march.

    Matt Binsted, who at last week’s meeting was calling local activists to see if they wanted a seat on one of those buses, said he will measure the success of the march both locally and internationally.

    “Part of it is going to be the outcome of the U.N. conference, and whether the leaders respond to the demands of the people, ” Binsted said. “I also think a big portion of it will be if it builds momentum for people on the ground to continue this kind of grassroots effort after the march in New York.”

    Organizers hope hundreds of thousands will turn out in New York to show gathering U.N. dignitaries that there is political will for new policies to address climate change.

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