Marlboro students and faculty joined the nearly 400,000 people who participated in the People’s Climate March on Sunday, September 21, the largest climate march in history. At least 40 Marlboro students marched, which represents 20 percent of the student body, as well as faculty members Kyhl Lyndgaard, William Edelglass, and Hana van der Kolk.
“We were discussing less than a month ago how we should bring students to New York for the march, and every time we brought it up, more and more students were interested,” said Kyhl, who is teaching a class called “Sense of Place in a Rapidly Changing World.” William and Hana are similarly teaching classes related to environmental issues. “Pretty soon I was getting emails from students not in these classes—and a couple of students I’d never even met.”
The march followed on news from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that this summer was the hottest on record for the globe, and that 2014 was on track to break the record for the hottest year, set in 2010. Frustrated by international inaction on global warming, demonstrators flooded through the heart of Manhattan with a message for world leaders gathering in New York this week for the U.N. Climate Summit.
Marlboro students took three hours to get from the staging area on the street to the actual starting line of the march, demonstrating just how packed the streets were ahead of them. Fortunately they were entertained by the “carbon bubble” (pictured), an inflated ball made of double-sided tape made by Tools for Action, an artists’ project Hana collaborated with.
“We decided not to have the words ‘carbon bubble’ on the ball in order to leave things a bit mysterious and to focus on the cooperation and euphoria elicited by our group,” said Hana. “To my mind, cooperation and collective joy are places to turn our efforts towards as we reject the consumption that keeps climate change from being addressed.”
“I met Amy Goodman, national columnist and host of Democracy Now!, and told her I wanted to go into journalism,” said sophomore Shannon Haaland. She reports Marlboro President Ellen McCulloch-Lovell gracefully jumping over a railing to join their group of students.
“The moment of silence at 11:58 followed by the wave of sound coming back to us was pretty incredible,” said Kyhl. “Larkspur [Morton, executive director of Marlboro’s partner Expedition Education Institute] likened it to being in the backcountry and hearing a big wall of rain coming at you.”
The People’s Climate March followed a Saturday talk at New York’s Grolier Club by William Edelglass, philosophy and environmental studies professor, on “The Geneology of Happiness.” The event was a great success, connecting alumni, prospective students, and other interested public—all in all a very fruitful weekend for Marlboro College in New York.