In New York City, sign language has a whole new meaning as citizens try to bring awareness to climate change and other environmental issues through expressive signage at the People’s Climate March.
On Saturday, September 21st, over 100 world leaders and tens of thousands of global citizens gathered together in New York City to march in advocation of climate change. Among them were an array of colourful, creative, and provocative signs, adding insight to the record breaking event.
“There is No Planet B” one sign read, held by a modest gentleman who was walking towards the crowd, eager to join the fray. A young boy had an artistically crafted sign which simply read “Let’s Save Our Planet,” hanging from his neck as he and his mother waited on the sidewalk. The creator of the sign, Samantha Lobis, mother and marcher in the People’s Climate March event said “It’s important for me to take my son so he can start a movement of being an activist and it’s important for me, for him to learn that if you find that something is important that you need to take a stand.”
Among the assemblage of marchers, a great range of generations and demographics were in attendance. However, a prominent demographic, and a popular sign holder, were not the many pro-active parents, but rather their aspiring activist children. Another young boy, proudly sat on his fathers shoulders holding a sign that read “No Big Factories, Except for the Lego Factory.”
It was interesting to see how many of the signs, like the aforementioned Lego one, or another which read “We Are Groot,” an allusion to the Marvel Comics superhero, tailored towards children. After all, it is their world the marchers are fighting for.
One Columbia student, who asked not to be named, said that she, like many of the adults there, was marching for the youth and the next generation. “I mean, they’re too young to realize the impact of climate change, so hopefully they’ll learn from this, and know that on this day, we made history,” she said.
Alongside the youth oriented messages, were also an array of signs which catered to the current generation of aspiring world leaders. Young adults, familiar with pop culture and social media, held up signs which read “YOLO,” one of the O’s displayed as a globe, “earth needs more likes,” in reference to Facebook, “Sequel to Frozen: Melted!” an ode to the popular Disney movie, and “Mermaids Oppose to Offshore Drilling,” speaking to the “mermaids are real” phenomenon.
Jessica Shohfi, a volunteer at the march, was handing out some of the organizations designed signs, which read “People’s Climate March” on one side and “I’m marching for…” on the other, giving marchers the ability to write who or what they were advocating for. “I think it is a universal problem and it’s probably going to overshadow every other social problem in the next 10 to 20 years” Shohfi stated.
Many celebrities were also in attendance adding stardom to the signage. Derek Blasberg, editor at large at Harper’s Bazaar, wrote an article on the weekends events, as well as posted pictures on his instagram account, one with the caption “Global Warming is not hot” and another with models Cameron Russell, Andreea Diddy, and Jessica Hart who all wore “Walk With Me” stickers.
The People’s Climate March organization whose website promotes “Action. Not Words.” were rewarded with both, as citizens from around the world gathered together making both a visual and historical impact through their actions, words, and signs.