Last week here at 10,000 Birds we did a theme week called “Extinction Week.” We covered a wide variety of topics but to me the most important was the one that David Ringer covered. His topic was the report recently issued by the Audubon Society where the organization claimed 314 species of birds in the United States and Canada are threatened by climate change. 314! Just in North America north of the Rio Grande! This is an enormous threat to our birdlife! If 314 species are threatened in the United States and Canada then the numbers world wide must be absolutely staggering. Stopping climate change should be a top priority for birders who are at all interested in continuing to see birds which is all of us. If you disagree with that statement then you really need to get your head out of the sand. Especially as that sand is probably heating up and your brains must be cooked by now…

Fortunately, there are many organizations working to fight climate change. And, for those of you who live in or near New York City or are visiting here this coming weekend, we are hosting what is undoubtedly going to be the largest mass action about climate change in history. Yes, the People’s Climate March will take place on Sunday, 21 September, in midtown Manhattan. You should go! I’ll be there. The link provides all of the necessary information to sign up and get involved.

climate statue has been one of the primary movers and shakers in the climate change activism scene for a long time and they have done an excellent job in getting a host of organizations to join in on the march. In fact, my employer, the New York State Nurses Association, has joined the march and that is with whom I will be marching on Sunday. (Climate change, in addition to hurting birds, is predicted to do pretty bad things for public health, as diseases like malaria spread and as stronger storms damage health care infrastructure.)

Don’t be afraid of joining a large march in New York City, even if you have never been involved in activism before. This is a permitted march with a pre-planned route. It will be family friendly and it is well organized. It will be safe, fun, and not at all scary. Come out, make your voice heard, and have a good time!

There are some, however, who feel that simply marching is not enough. Who feel that politely asking that we stop destroying our planet is not going to get it done. Who feel that the disaster that is climate change calls for a stronger response. That is why, on 22 September, there will be a massive civil disobedience action called Flood Wall Street. From their call to action:

Wearing blue to represent the sea that surrounds us, we rise to the steps of the NY Stock Exchange at 12:00 pm, flooding the area with our bodies in a massive sit-in – a collective act of nonviolent civil disobedience – to confront the system that both causes and profits from the crisis that is threatening humanity.

There is no time to waste – Wall Street must be transformed. Through the power of people taking collective action we will build an economy based on justice and sustainability and stop the climate crisis.

flood wall street

Occupy Wall Street is the primary driver behind this action though there are many other organizations and individuals who are also participating.  With deep local roots in the New York City activism scene and experience, post Hurricane Sandy, of the damage that climate change can cause, Occupy Wall Street has morphed into an organization with a ton of organizing and direct action talents. The idea is to wear blue and flood Wall Street, the symbolic center of the capitalist system that continues to profit from all of the industries that are causing climate change, with people. The action will be fluid – organized chaos – and will undoubtedly lead to mass arrests. I plan to attend. It should be confrontational, and fun, and hopefully it will help drive home the message of the People’s Climate March with a harder edge.

And, of course, if you can’t be in New York City this coming weekend there are still a host of things you can do to help fight climate change. This is a worldwide movement with organizations everywhere working to combat climate change. Get involved! We only have one planet and about 10,000 species of bird. I don’t want to make the former unlivable and I don’t want to lose any of the latter. But change doesn’t come on its own and power concedes nothing without a fight.

Written by Corey
Corey is a New Yorker who lived most of his life in upstate New York but has lived in Queens since 2008. He's only been birding since 2005 but has garnered a respectable life list by birding whenever he wasn't working as a union representative or spending time with his family. He lives in Forest Hills with Daisy and Desmond Shearwater. His bird photographs have appeared on the Today Show, in Birding, Living Bird Magazine, Bird Watcher's Digest, and many other fine publications. He is also the author of the American Birding Association Field Guide to the Birds of New York.