Preparing to march for the climate

Norcal Art Party

Misao Brown, Louise Chegwidden, and Eric Wilson painted this big banner for the Oakland march.

Climate activists are focused on the upcoming United Nations Conference on Climate Change, planning for marches and rallies in Paris, Washington, Tokyo, Oakland, and dozens of other cities around the world. Political leaders are meeting for two weeks to discuss a potential new global agreement on climate change.

The conference begins in Paris on November 30, in what is officially called the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21). This meeting is a crucial one, called at a time when the Earth’s atmosphere is warming at an unprecedented rate and when the dire consequences of continued carbon pollution are becoming increasingly clear—much clearer than they were at any of the previous 20 COPs.

climate march art party

Stop funding fossils—and their fuels. Teachers want CalSTRS to divest.
(Misao, Deborah Silvey, and Louise at the art party.)

But this is also a time of great hope, as one country after another has committed itself to challenging targets for carbon-emission reductions. Some of the largest polluters have set significant goals:

The EU will cut its emissions by 40%, compared with 1990 levels, by 2030. The US will cut its emissions by 26% to 28%, compared with 2005 levels, by 2025. China will agree that its emissions will peak by 2030.

But these goals are not enough to avoid climate catastrophe, and that’s why activists are planning to keep the pressure on political leaders, corporations, and the media. Most of the COP21 marches are planned for November 28 and 29, just before the conference begins, and you can find a march near you here.

It is possible that the signature Paris march will have to be limited or canceled, as a result of the recent heinous attacks—but other actions will definitely proceed. This tragedy means that it is more important than ever for us to march everywhere else.

climate march art party

Colin Schimmelfing paints a banner for the march.

One of the largest events is planned for Oakland on Saturday morning, November 21. A coalition of many climate organizations, including Fossil Free California and 350 Bay Area, is leading the march from Lake Merritt to Frank Ogawa Plaza downtown.

In preparation for this NorCal Mobilization, 20 people got together in Berkeley Sunday and Monday to paint banners and signs. As you can see by the messages on some of the banners, Fossil Free California is focusing on support for teachers and urging CalSTRS divestment.

You are welcome to join us at the march, whether you’re a teacher or just someone who thinks teachers should get a fair shake and a green planet, along with everyone else. But if you’re not close enough to join us in Oakland, check here to participate in an action near you. We need to let the people meeting for COP21 know that the whole world is watching, and we care.

You can see more photos of the Berkeley art party here.



  1. Linda Ray on November 17, 2015 at 9:31 pm

    There is a calendar for fossil free CA on the page and it has the rally under the 22nd instead of the 21st though it does mention elsewhere that the event is Saturday. Just wanted to bring to someone’s attention if it hasn’t already been corrected.

  2. Robert Silvey on November 18, 2015 at 10:16 am

    Thanks for the bug report. We’re making a few changes on the site, and expect to fix the calendar today. The NorCal Climate Mobilization is definitely on Saturday the 21st in Oakland. We’re meeting at Lake Merritt at 10:30 for the march. Hope you can join us!

  3. Dorothy Knable on November 18, 2015 at 11:25 am

    And the bus from Sacramento comes in at 11:30 (We get older folks and expected families with little ones; more than 7 hours would have been too hard on them, with the journey.). Please tell me, the bus organizer, where to have the bus park. We have said the walkers could meet your marchers as they arrive. Please be specific because we’re not familiar with Oakland (One way streets…). Thanks! Dorothy Knable (916) 451-2045.

  4. dcabcabin on November 18, 2015 at 7:51 pm

    Great! I just learned that the Oakland Education Association has been flyering alot and there will be a contingent of Oakland Teachers on Saturday! Thank you OEA!!!