Climate change marchers move indoors, part of national movement
COLUMBIA — Despite non-ideal weather conditions, people gathered at MU Saturday afternoon as a part of a nationwide climate change rally.
Several local groups organized the "Sound the Alarm: Blow the Whistle on Climate Change! Rally for Climate Action," which was originally scheduled for outside the Boone County Courthouse but was moved inside MU's Middlebush Auditorium because of rain.
"All across the nation and around the world, people are gathering to say, 'It's time to blow the whistle on climate change' and call out the polluters who are stealing our grandchildren's futures, stealing our futures," said Mark Haim, one of the organizers and the director of Mid-Missouri Peaceworks. "If we fail to address this crisis though, we condemn our children and grandchildren to tragic circumstance, and it's just not right."
The march in Columbia was one of hundreds of marches backing climate change around the nation.
"There are over 375 communities around the country where people have gathered to rally and to march to say, 'It's time for action on the climate crisis,' and that's what we're doing here today," Haim said.
In Washington D.C., People's Climate Movement protesters marched near the U.S. Capitol toward the White House, ending up at the Washington Monument as part of the People's Climate Movement. The protesters in D.C. braved the unusual hot day, with nearly 90 degree temperatures.
On Friday, the Environmental Protection Agency removed climate change information from its website. A statement from the EPA said the website is undergoing changes that "reflect the agency’s new direction under President Donald Trump and Administrator Scott Pruitt."
In the EPA's statement, J.P. Freire, associate administrator for public affairs, said, “We want to eliminate confusion by removing outdated language first and making room to discuss how we’re protecting the environment and human health by partnering with states and working within the law.”
Haim said, "Anyone who denies the reality of climate change is basically flying in the face of a scientific consensus that's so strong that it's really beyond any kind of credibility at this point."
The rally in Columbia included speakers from many different fields:
- Carolyn Amparan addressed communicating with others about climate change.
- MU sociology professor Tola Pearce discussed the impact of climate change on women.
- MU student Mallory Brown addressing the intersection of climate change and other critical issues.
- Jay Hasheider, a former Columbia Water and Light employee, addressed pursuing policy changes at the local level.
- Renew Missouri Clean Energy Associate Philip Fracica discussed current Missouri legislative priorities.
- Mizzou Energy Action Coalition President Frankie Hawkins spoke about divestment from fossil fuels.
"I was just really pleased to hear the diversity of viewpoints and perspectives that all contribute to the need to create a sustainable, livable future with a high quality of life for everyone," Haim said. "We can do that with renewable energy and energy efficiency, and addressing the climate crisis."
Several other speakers shared poems about how they feel climate change affects them. The rally even included a phone call from a mid-Missouri woman who boarded a bus Friday afternoon bound for the People's Climate Movement march in D.C.