SAN FRANCISCO — Over two dozen climate activists, including several Indian Americans, held a memorial march here from the Asian Art Museum to Union Square Sept. 18, to mourn the global victims of this summer’s record heat.
The march began at the steps of the Asian Art Museum at 4:30 p.m., where there was a moment of silence and a Hindi song was played. The activists, dressed in the South Asian color of mourning, white, and carrying flowers, proceeded along Market St. to rally at Union Square, where they lit candles and placed flowers to honor the dead, according to a press release.
“Climate change kills. This summer, over 2,500 lives were lost in India and 1,200 in Pakistan,” said Barnali Ghosh, coordinator of Brown and Green: South Asian Americans for Climate Justice. “In Karachi, Pakistan, 65,000 people were treated for heatstroke.”
San Francisco resident Balu Vellanki described the impact of deadly heat in his hometown of Krishna district, Andhra Pradesh, India, and how “climate change multiplies existing inequities. During heat waves, privileged families can afford to sit at home with the air conditioning on from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., but laborers and farmers have to work, so they suffer more deaths.”
Sara Greenwald of the non-profit 350 San Francisco described the road ahead: “We want this march to be a wake-up call to leaders worldwide. It’s been over 20 years since the UN climate treaty at Kyoto was signed, and the U.S. government has failed to act. The signatories will be meeting in Paris this year, and people will march by the tens of thousands worldwide to demand action. The Northern California Climate Mobilization march will start at the Civic Center in Oakland on Nov. 21.”