Re-cap from Climate Marches in Asheville, Charleston and South Florida!

This blog was written by Sarah Gilliam, former Communications Coordinator at the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy with contributions from Chris Carnevale, Coastal Climate and Energy Manager, and Alissa Schafer, former Solar Policy & Communications Manager at the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.

Guest Blog and Chris Carnevale | May 5, 2017 | Climate Change

Climate action was in the air on Saturday, April 29th at various climate marches held throughout the Southeast. SACE staff was excited to participate in four sister events this year. Here’s a short re-cap and photos from those events. See SACE’s photo albums from the events on Facebook here and on Flickr here.

Asheville, NC – “from 8th graders to elected officials”

Pack Square in downtown Asheville, NC hosted about 1,000 climate activists last Saturday. Several local speakers took to the mic, calling out the Trump administrations’ efforts to roll back climate policies and removing public climate data from the Environmental Protection Agencies’ website. By far, the most inspiring speakers were two local 8th graders, named Eliana and Cleo, who shared with the crowd their own personal “aha” moment on climate change (which involved a local science teacher!) and the importance of youth engaging on climate change. Re-live their adorable speech here.

Another note-worthy speaker for Asheville’s event was Buncombe County Commissioner, Brownie Newman (right photo), who articulated several impressive local initiatives (in the face of uncertainty at the federal level) aimed at lessening carbon pollution: WNC’s first micro-grid, Buncombe County’s retired landfill repurposed as solar farm, and a local Energy Innovation Task Force working together on clean energy and energy efficiency efforts for Western North Carolina.

Thank you to all the attendees, speakers and volunteers who helped make the Asheville’s event happen! And a special shout out to the local “protest marching band” who really helped keep the event light and fun, on an otherwise serious and somewhat scary topic. Onward!

Charleston, SC – People’s Climate Parade

Charlestonians turned out on Saturday to demand action on climate change. The event included a march along Morrison Drive, capped by rallies on either end of the route. We started at The Royal American, where people gathered, made signs, sang songs, listened to speakers, and then set out on a half-mile walk to St. Julian Devine Community Center. The march was accented with large puppets, live music, and creative chants and signs.

At St. Julian Devine, we heard from Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg and the City’s new Resilience Officer, Mark Wilbert, about the increasing vulnerability of Charleston to flooding from sea level rise and the need to take action. The Climate Parade was the kickoff event for Awakening V, a month-long event organized by local organization Enough Pie to raise awareness about the vulnerability of Charleston to flooding and highlight solutions. Overall, the event was a fine demonstration of Charlestonians’ will to act on climate change by building climate resilience and transitioning to clean energy.

Fort Lauderdale and Miami, FL – March for Jobs, Justice, & Climate  

Florida was a busy state all day, with a total of 21 sister marches happening from the panhandle to the keys! SACE staff participated in two marches in South Florida, Fort Lauderdale and Miami, with an estimated 500 marchers in Fort Lauderdale and close to 1,000 in Miami.

Often referred to as “ground zero” for climate change and sea level rise, South Florida has billions of dollars in infrastructure and real estate at risk, currently home to 6 million plus residents in Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade counties alone. Low income communities are of extra concern with very little public awareness and even less funding available to work towards climate change mitigation and adaptation. With performances, music, speakers, costumes, and signs, South Florida marchers addressed these issues in diverse and unified voices throughout the day. You can watch some of the local new coverage here and here.


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