On Sunday, September 17, 2023, an estimated 75,000 protestors marched in New York City to demand immediate action to end the use of fossil fuels. As leaders from around the world descended on the city to take part in the UN’s annual climate summit, protestors from around the country made it clear that their patience with the fossil fuel industry is reaching its limit.
“We hold the power of the people, the power you need to win this election,” said 17-year-old Emma Buretta of Brooklyn of the youth protest group Fridays for Future. “If you want to win in 2024, if you do not want the blood of my generation to be on your hands, end fossil fuels.”
This protest was far more focused on fossil fuels and the industry than previous marches. Sunday’s rally attracted a large chunk, 15%, of first-time protesters and was overwhelmingly female, said American University sociologist Dana Fisher, who studies environmental movements and was surveying march participants.
Of the people Fisher talked to, 86% had experienced extreme heat recently, 21% floods and 18% severe drought, she said. They mostly reported feeling sad and angry. Earth has just gone through the hottest summer on record.
Among the marchers was 8-year-old Athena Wilson from Boca Raton, Florida. She and her mother Maleah, flew from Florida for Sunday’s protest.
“Because we care about our planet,” Athena said. “I really want the Earth to feel better.”