In light of what could be the largest UN climate conference of the decade on Monday, Nov. 30, I decided to analyze sentiment around #ClimateMarch on Twitter. Hundreds of thousands of people around the world marched for action to be taken on worldwide climate policies and social media was swarmed with posts using the hashtag from cities all over, including Sydney, Beirut, Paris, Chicago, and many more. Aside from many of the marchers who were posting photos and reactions online, many people who were unable to march also took to social media to share their thoughts and feelings about #ClimateMarch.
Temperatures in cities around the globe have put 2015 on its way to becoming the hottest year in recorded history (via 350.org) and many government leaders will be meeting this week to create a global climate agreement. People all over have taken to the streets to participate in marches for climate change and justice, promoting sustainable energy resources and decreased use of fossil fuels. #ClimateMarch was also a hot topic online, where organizations, politicians, marchers, and some “non-believers” from hundreds of cities shared their views on the subject.
I found a lot of tweets from people who were marching in different cities and felt positively about the motives behind the march. Many were from organizations like Greenpeace who were covering the event and promoting its cause through their social media platforms.
— Greenpeace Aus Pac (@GreenpeaceAustP) November 29, 2015
This tweet really emphasizes the size of the crowd in Sydney. Even if you don’t know the layout of Sydney, the way they talk about how the beginning of the march ended before the end could even start is a crazy picture to imagine in your head. Other organizing bodies like 350.org tweeted positively too.
— 350 dot org (@350) November 29, 2015
— Bill McKibben (@billmckibben) November 28, 2015
Bill McKibben is an author and environmentalist who joined in on the Twitter action and was advocating for the marches around the world. He tweeted and retweeted a lot of pictures from cities all over and shared positive messages from all of the different locations. Other tweets, like the one below, took a more opinionated approach, but were still on the positive side of the movement.
If your business model requires unlimited freedom to pollute… you're doing it wrong… #ClimateMarch
— Peace Is Active (@peaceisactive) November 29, 2015
Even some grannies joined in.
— Eamon Ryan (@EamonRyan) November 29, 2015
Most tweets were positive in sharing the message of “climate justice” around the world. A lot of the tweets also included pictures showing the masses of people who were at the different marches, which was especially powerful because it showed how many people showed up to fight for our planet.
— Kumi Naidoo (@kuminaidoo) November 29, 2015
— Vini V (@vini_v_) November 29, 2015
— Katherine Fisher (@kfisher1981) November 29, 2015
— Gabrielle Lyon (@LyonGabrielle) November 29, 2015
Even after the recent attacks in Beirut and Paris, people were still showing their support for the #ClimateMarch both in person and on social media.
— Bill McKibben (@billmckibben) November 29, 2015
In Paris though, police banned people from marching, so hundreds of people set out shoes to represent the march that would’ve been happening- an incredibly moving image.
— Scott Spark (@scottspark) November 29, 2015
Although there was a lot of positive feelings and imagery surrounding #ClimateMarch on Twitter that showed masses of people out to support the climate cause, there was negative sentiment present online too.
#ClimateMarch is a hoax! More tax dollars & more control over people's lives… That's all it is
— Beanfrompa (@BeanfromPa) November 29, 2015
— Ben Schmark (@bearddogg) November 29, 2015
One of the reasons why I think people chose to post negatively about #ClimateMarch is greatly represented in the tweet above. Many people think that social media is just a place where people can be seen and try to get attention. This guy obviously feels that way and doesn’t see the posts and tweets as genuine.
But where he can be disproven, is in the hundreds of thousands social media posts like the ones above that show the people who truly care enough to get out of bed and go to the marches. I think that climate change is a cause that people care enough about that they are not doing it just for publicity or to jump on a bandwagon. The world is something that we have the power to either save or destroy and I don’t think marching to save the planet is something that you should criticize people for doing.