Marchers demand action for climate change
Nearly 500 people gathered from the Bellingham community on Sunday, Nov. 29, to walk in one Global Climate March of thousands occurring around the world over the last few days.
The march began in Maritime Heritage Park where participants were reminded by march organizer Jill MacIntyre Witt that they were marching for a call for awction against climate change in solidarity with the other cities involved in the event.
Before the crowd was sent off, a moment of silence was held for the victims of the violent acts both in America and around the world in the past months.
“This is not just a climate march,” Witt said. “It’s a march for peace and hope.”
The crowd huddled closely with gloved hands holding signs that read, “There is No ‘Planet B,” or signs that demanded an end to fossil fuels and coal trains, waiting for the cue to march.
The Global Climate March events aimed to build awareness as the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, or COP21 began on Monday, Nov. 30, in France.
The first Conference of the Parties began in 1992 to acknowledge the role humans play in climate change, asking industrialized nations to take the most action to combat it. During the event, proposed climate agreements and solutions are voted on by delegates from participating countries.
The march was also in solidarity with the recent attacks in Paris, said Witt, who works with 350 Bellingham, the local chapter of 350.org, and organized the event.
350.org has been hosting international events since 2009, including the most widespread day of political action in history, according to its website.
“It takes a lot of volunteers to plan and get the word out through print media, through social media and spreading the word through various coalitions, from social justice, race justice, climate justice,” Witt said. “It’s all connected.”
Multiple events are also hosted by 350 Bellingham throughout the year, tailored to what’s happening at that time and what the call for action is, Witt said.
The march in Bellingham was one of three this weekend; the first in Westlake Center in Seattle on Saturday, Nov. 28, the second in Bellingham and the third in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Senior Marika Weber attended the march in Bellingham as well as the Global Climate March event in Seattle on Nov. 28.
The Seattle event included “climate caroling”, which are alternative Christmas carols, rewritten to make a connection between consumption and climate change, according to 350 Seattle’s website.
“I’d never really done climate caroling before, so that was very different but it was fun,” Weber said.
As a member of Students for Renewable Energy, Weber has attended similar events partly because of the group’s work on Western’s fossil fuels divestment campaign for the last few years.
Weber’s favorite part of Bellingham’s event was the march, which she enjoyed more than caroling, she said.
“I love all the artwork that goes into it and how it brings so many people together for one cause,” Weber said.
350 has more international events planned throughout the year to fight fossil fuels and push for renewable energy, according to its website.