New York Takes a Stand on the Climate Crisis

A quarter of a million people descend on lower Manhattan demanding reform



Fordham students were among the estimated 250,000 protestors who attended the rally. The event was held in advance of the United Nations Climate Summit.


On the afternoon of Sept. 20, 2019, millions of people worldwide gathered to take part in youth-led climate protests. New York was no exception — an estimated 250,000 people marched through lower Manhattan to demand action on climate change.

Students were allowed to skip school the day of the protest, provided parental consent.

The majority of these protestors were students. With parental consent, public school students were free to skip school without consequence. Crowds gathered in the streets, wielding signs and shouting for immediate action on global warming. Among the most popular signs were phrases declaring “There is no Planet B,” and “Raise your voice, not the sea level.” 

The rally featured many youth speakers, one of whom was the Swedish climate activist responsible for sparking global youth climate strikes, Greta Thunberg.

“We have not taken to the streets, sacrificing our education for the adults and politicians to take selfies with us and tell us that they really, really admire what we do,” Thunberg said at the end of the protest. “We are doing this to wake the leaders up.” 

Frustrated by the lack of urgency by politicians, today’s youth are stepping forward to take action against global warming by going on strike and putting forth several demands for the United Nations and world leaders. 

“There’s not enough being done [about climate change],” said Angie Wright, FCLC ’23, who attended the strike. “It’s not enough.”

The protest, which coincided with the UN Climate Action Summit, drew many youthful speakers, including Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg.

The timing of the rally was crucial. On Sept. 23 — the Monday following the strike — the U.N. Climate Action Summit took place in New York. 

“World leaders are going to be gathered here in New York City for the United Nations Climate Action Summit,” Thunberg said at the rally. “The eyes of the world will be on them. They have a chance to prove that they, too, are united behind the science. They have a chance to take leadership, to prove they actually hear us. Do you think they hear us? We will make them hear us.” 

Thunberg’s efforts have not been in vain, as evidenced by the support shown for New York City’s climate strike. 

“It’s only the first year after Greta started with her strike, but the whole city was full of people marching and protesting, so I think [the climate strikes are] making an impact,” continued Angie Wright, FCLC ’23.

Fordham’s Campus Ministry also took part in the strike by closing their office, making a sign and sitting on the lawn during the New York strike. 

“Our children are fighting for the future,” NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio said of the strike on Twitter. “The time to act is NOW, before it’s too late. They’re ready to march like their lives depend on it because they do.”

Grooving for a Green Future: Activists dance as they demand climate justice in Battery Park. Protests occurred on all seven continents, making it the largest climate protest ever recorded.