It's become a familiar formula over recent weeks: the U.S. Supreme Court drops a consequential decision affecting the lives of millions, and engaged New Yorkers take to the streets to voice their reactions.

Milestone rulings this month affecting gun laws and abortion rights made parts of the city a regular stomping ground for activists who came out against the decisions. Thursday's 6-3 decision curtailing the Environmental Protection Agency's ability to confront climate change was no different, aside from the size and scope of the protests.

Peter Mercury was at the Foley Square rally on Thursday and said they empathized with the fatigue their fellow New Yorkers might feel.

"People are exhausted," Mercury said. "People are exhausted from having to protest these things and especially several different major blows to human rights and to safety."

The rally drew fewer people than those earlier this month after other milestone Supreme Court decisions. One activist says, "people are exhausted."

The rally drew fewer people than those earlier this month after other milestone Supreme Court decisions. One activist says, "people are exhausted."

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The rally drew fewer people than those earlier this month after other milestone Supreme Court decisions. One activist says, "people are exhausted."
Catalina Gonella

At Gov. Kathy Hochul's direction, state lawmakers were already working late into the evening Thursday to try and change the state constitution to guarantee access to abortion and contraception after last week’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade. Alice Hu, a climate campaigner with New York Communities for Change, said her group was also calling on Hochul to take a leadership role in showing other blue states how they could lead with progressive climate change legislation.

"I think so many people feel angry right now, and I think one way to constructively direct that anger towards something that can actually move is to lead blue government, such as New York state's government," Wu said.

In a statement responding to the decision, Hochul denounced the Supreme Court’s decision, calling it a major setback.

"New York is once again in the familiar, but unwelcome, position of stepping up after the Supreme Court strikes a blow to our basic protections. But as always, New York is ready,” Hochul said. “We will strengthen our nation-leading efforts to address the climate crisis, redouble efforts with sister states, build new clean energy projects in every corner of the state, and crack down on pollution harming the health of many New Yorkers."

Roni Zahavi Brunner said she came out to rally on Thursday in defense of the work she and other climate activists have been doing for years. Work that she said has been erased.

"The climate movement has been working super hard for decades to try to get any governmental legislation, any policy to try to limit carbon emissions and been making super slow increment changes," she said. "And today, all of that work has just been undone by nine people who have not been voted into office."