Scientists Stand with Students at Climate March

September 20, 2019

By Kevin Krajick

Grad students from Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory organized a contingent. “It’s time to do the work and start doing it right now,” said organizer Corey Lesk, center. (Photos: Kevin Krajick/Earth Institute except where noted)

Dozens of Earth Institute staff and students took part in New York City’s Climate Strike march today, which took protestors from a rally at downtown’s Foley Square to the Battery Park, where a second rally was to take place. Among others, several contingents of graduate students, postdocs and scientists came from Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. They carried hand-lettered signs reading “Science Not Silence” and “Climate Scientists Stand with School Strike.”

Corey Lesk, a graduate student in Lamont’s ocean and climate physics division helped organize one group. Asked why he was there, he said, “I don’t want to live in a 2-degree world, a 3-degree world, a 4-degree world. It’s time to decarbonize the grid. It’s time to do the work and start doing it right now. That’s the simple answer.”

Postdoc Laura Haynes came with a direct message for young people, who comprised the majority of marchers.

Research assistant Kai Morsink, on Broadway.

The march was designed to give voice to young people, and many if not most of the participants surrounding the Lamonters were school-age children and teens; but everyone was welcome, and people of all ages were there to show their support. The city estimated the crowd at 60,000, though it was arguably more, filling the huge square from end to end and spilling out into side streets. As the Lamont group marched down Broadway to the Battery, grad student Daniel Babin helped lead a neighboring group of grade-schoolers in chants. “What do we want? Climate justice! When do we want it? Now!”

“I’m here because I don’t think I could not be here,” said Lamont climate scientist and leader of the Columbia University Initiative on Extreme Weather and Climate Adam Sobel. “This is the most important issue. We’ve got to support young people.”

By chance, Lamont scientist Adam Sobel, right, was introduced on the street to New York mayor Bill de Blasio and the city’s first lady, Chirlane McCray. (Courtesy Adam Sobel)

Grad student Daniel Babin, right, leads a chant.

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