On Saturday, April 29 hundreds of thousands marched for “jobs, justice, and a safe climate” in Washington DC, in other cities in the US, and in parts of Africa, Asia, South America, and Europe.
A week of events preceded the march including panel discussions, movement training, and rallies.
Calling the movement for addressing the climate a “World War II-scale emergency mobilization” groups announced the march last January in anticipation of climate policies that President Donald Trump alluded to in his campaign speeches that denied the responsibility of fossil fuel extraction’s contribution to climate change. A Climate Restoration Decade Bloc was formed that included allied organizations with the goal of “reaching 100% clean energy and eliminate greenhouse gas emissions within the next decade, guarantee 100% employment in a sustainable economy, and begin restoring a safe climate for all.”
The march began at the National Mall by 3rd St and Jefferson Drive and turned on Pennsylvania. Upon approaching 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue, the Trump International Hotel, the ongoing arriving crowd rose to an uproar when it was pointed out that to the left was the guarded hotel along the march route:
(click on pictures to enlarge)
The march stopped to surround the White House and hold a sit-in for 100 minutes representing 100 minutes of climate denial of the Trump Administration and according to a statement released by organizers the march was intended to confront “the Trump administration’s attacks on morality and science [which] are so devastating that the media and the broader public finally seem to be noticing that the future of human life, millions of species, and the natural world as we know it is at stake.”
A human chain surrounded a large area in front of the start of the march, but reporters broke through the chain to document. The crowd estimate was around two hundred thousand.
Below are interviews with some of the attendees:
Carolyn Meyer and Kel Pickens are from the college town of Stillwater, Oklahoma and were behind a 2015 successful campaign to ban fracking as a municipal ordinance.
After being plagued my multiple earthquakes measuring over 3.0 magnitude, Meyers and Pickens formed a group to address the danger on April 17, 2014 that began in their living room with five people. Pickens described the origins:
“We’re kind of an earthquake-central-ground-zero area. We formed a group called Stop Fracking Payne County. There was about five of us that were co-founders. It started in our living room. From there we started asking city council to start updating practices, zonings to start protecting the citizens from all the earthquakes that were causing façade damages, structural damages. Oil companies were not being responsible, so we passed an ordinance in the city of Stillwater to basically update those ordinances to stop the fracking that was not taking responsibility for the damages they were causing.”
Later that year, the state of Oklahoma passed measures that prevented future ordinances that sought to outlaw cities from limiting fracking, “The bigger state interests are quite questionable where their sympathies lie, whether it’s with the citizens or whether it’s with big gas and oil.”
Pickens said that the couple wanted to come to the climate march to confront Oklahoma’s former Attorney General Scott Pruitt who Trump appointed as head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “He did nothing to protect, in fact he spent taxpayers money on frivolous lawsuits against the EPA. And basically that’s who’s now the head of the EPA. Of course his only job is to tear up and dismantle the EPA the same way he did our state.”
Meyers said that the city council took over a year to pass the ordinance under a lot of municipal pressure. The challenge came when oil company executives also began showing up to city council meetings and pressuring – even threatening according to Meyers – the city council.
Meyers advice to people who are trying to restrict fracking operations near their homes, “You have to keep pressuring and getting larger numbers. It’s really the amount of numbers they see showing up or calling or putting the pressure on. The more you can get, the better. I don’t think ours would have done a thing had we not started and just kept going. And the media. You gotta have the media. They really did help us a lot because it was on the television news all the time. And we had a lot of different spokespeople.”
Adam (right) is from Maryland and marched with his family, “I think that clean energy is very important because it’s clean for one thing and it helps the world keep going, and it’s cheaper, and it’s better.”
In school, Adam said that the class learned about reusable energy and about the importance of their use.
To others of his generation his message was, “Help keep the environment clean. We’re going to be the next people living on in it.”
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