Thousands expected to turn out for People’s Climate March Sunday

Thousands of environmentally conscious people are expected to pack the West Side on Sunday to call on world leaders to be more green.

Organizers for the People’s Climate March said next week’s climate summit at the UN General Assembly will be a crucial turning point, so it’s important to speak up now.

Eddie Bautista, the executive director of the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance, one of several groups arranging the protest, said Superstorm Sandy dramatically illustrated the dangers of climate change and that world leaders need to get the message.

“The particular vulnerabilities that New York faces is one of the reasons we need to make sure this happens,” Bautista said.

The rally will begin at 11:30 a.m. at Central Park West, between 65th and 86th streets, and it will make its way south to 34th Street and 11th Avenue.

Bautista said the protest, which is expected to draw in 100,000 people from around the country, won’t be like other environmental rallies.

At 1 p.m., there will be a moment of silence to pay respects for the people hurt by climate change, followed by a shout of outrage.

“The march itself will be a narrative,” Bautista said.

Marcia Bystryn, the president of the New York League of Conservation Voters, said a strong show of support will set the protest apart. Green nonprofits will be joined by celebrities, elected officials, such as Council Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito, and 32BJ SEIU as well as other labor groups.

“We have representatives from an array of groups who have never come together for a climate march, and it’s going to be interesting,” Bystryn said.

City Councilman Donovan Richards, who chairs the Council’s Committee on Environmental Protection, said New York has led the nation with many progressive green laws but there’s still a long way to go. He said he was confident that the march will renew governmental focus on the environment.

“It now becomes on everyone’s radar,” he said. “The march is going to catalyze.”

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