May 3, 2017

Athenians March Against Climate Change in DC

City Dope

Mark McConnell of Athens (left) at the climate change march in Washington, DC Apr. 29.

Almost 40 members of the Athens-based Georgia Climate Change Coalition joined more than 300 Georgia Sierra Club members in a convoy of five buses to participate in the in the People’s Climate March Apr. 29 in Washington, D.C.

According to organizers, the march spilled out over the route that the National Park Service permitted for the event, while attendance reached more than 150,000, significantly more than the 100,000 that the NPS permitted for the event.  

"It was was truly awe-inspiring to be a part of this historic event," Athens-Clarke County Commissioner Melissa Link said. "Global climate change poses the greatest threat to life on Earth as we know it, and I have long believed that we each have a moral obligation to do everything in our power to sound the alarm and amend our own lifestyles to reduce our personal carbon footprints wherever possible. And for those of us in positions of power, this moral obligation is compounded by our ability to shape local policy and projects to assure we are doing our part in our own little corner to save this increasingly fragile world. Marching alongside over 200,000 fellow Americans on Saturday from every corner of this country only reinforced my understanding that we are all interconnected in this complex web of life on this magnificent and unique planet."

The official event included speakers from grassroots environmental and political organizations from all parts of the US, as well as musicians and dancers representing native cultures.  Speakers portrayed the increasing use of fossil fuels, particularly by the U.S. military, as the cause of climate change. One pointed out that a single fighter jet uses 1,500 gallons of fuel per hour, and that the U.S. military is the single biggest consumer of fossil fuels in the world.

Most marchers were carrying signs, including one that read, “When there’s a sun spill, it’s called a nice day.”

“There was a tremendous feeling of camaraderie,” said Mark McConnell, a GCCC member.  “There were people from all over the country. The Dogwood Alliance was there to protest the practice of deforesting our Southern forests for wood pellets that are shipped to European markets, where they are burned to produce what they are calling ‘clean energy.’  Burning wood in fact releases more CO2 pollution at the point of incineration than coal.”

A petition to Gov. Nathan Deal and ACC Mayor Nancy Denson to protect Georgia forests from deforestation can be found on the GCCC website.