More than 400,000 people turned out in New York City on Sunday to express their concern for the global environment and Veronans were among them.
If you missed the hoopla, yesterday was the People’s Climate March, an event created to focus attention on the effects of climate change ahead of the United Nations climate summit, which opens tomorrow. The organizers had expected perhaps 100,000 people and instead got a parade that spanned four miles of city streets at a time. And in that throng was Gloria Machnowski, the chairperson of the Verona Environmental Commission and her daughter Nina, a middle school student who was marking her first outing as an activist.
The Machnowskis headed into New York on the DeCamp bus. “Several people from Verona, including kids, were in the bus and going to the march,” Gloria Machnowski said. Once at Port Authority, they discovered that the C subway train, which had been recommended to marchers, was too crowded, so they took an alternate subway to their assigned starting point on 77th Street and Central Park West. Marchers lined between 65th Street and 86th Street along Central Park, but the crowd was so thick that even though the Machnowskis were supposed to step off at 11:30 a.m., they were still only in the west 70s at 1 p.m.
“We chatted there with people from Montclair, West Orange, Rochester, Sierra Club, Philadelphia, PETA, you name it,” said Gloria Machnowski. “We danced and hung out for hours.” Carrying the banner of the Verona Environmental Commission earned them some media attention: “There was a journalist from Italy that came to interview us since we are from Verona. Very funny,” Machnowski said. “It was a great experience for Nina, her first big march.”
The march attracted many well-known environmental activists, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Jane Goodall and one name that might ring a bell with an older generation of Veronans: Fred Krupp. Krupp, who organized the first Earth Day at Verona High School in 1970, has spent three decades as the head of the Environmental Defense Fund, now the worldwide leader in the environmental movement.
.@FredKrupp, ready to march! @EnvDefenseFund #peoplesclimate pic.twitter.com/cbc1RZAkXJ
— Eric Pooley (@EricPooley) September 21, 2014
Terry Moore, a Westview Road resident who has been opposing the development of 176-200 Bloomfield Avenue on environmental grounds, was also in the People’s Climate March, walking with a group from the Save Our Schools movement. “We’re all in this together,” Moore said later. “If we don’t have an earth, we don’t have anything.”
Moore, a retiree who has been an activist since he was 17, was thrilled to see all the young people in the crowd. While he says he looked at the video screens along the way to see how big the march was, the crowd’s size didn’t really hit him until the end of the march’s moment of silence, when marchers were encouraged to shout. “A sound wave like water rushed over us,” said Moore. “We had chills when it was over.”
The day’s unity left an impression on Moore, too. “We’re all fighting the same fight,” he said, “against people who have the money and the power who are ruining our lives.”