By Bill Wellhouse, SanDiego350
Photo, left: Rally stage. Photo by Bill Wellhouse
The local affiliate of The Climate Mobilization, led by Derek and Nancy Cassady, held a rally Tuesday evening, February 21, 2017 at the Edward J. Schwartz Federal Building on Front Street in downtown San Diego. An energetic crowd gathered at 6:00 p.m.to protest the Trump administration’s national climate policy and to promote The Climate Mobilization’s solution to the climate crisis. The group’s primary mission is to induce the federal government to adopt a World War II-style mobilization to bring the nation to zero greenhouse gas emissions within a decade. This effort, they state, will revitalize American jobs and boost the economy.
Photo, right: Wesley Clark Jr. speaking at the rally. Photo by Bill Wellhouse
Approximately 300 people attended the event. Music provided by the Swamp Critters bookended the event. Speakers at the rally underlined the urgency of combating climate change, and these included three third graders from Mt. Everest Academy. They reminded the audience, to enthusiastic applause, that they were going to be the recipients of the decisions we make today. Other speakers included representatives from labor (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers), the Native American community, and local community organizations.
Wesley Clark Jr., son of General Wesley Clark, the former general and NATO commander, served as the event’s keynote speaker. Mr. Clark emphasized the need for immediate action regarding climate change, saying we are risking nothing less than extinction with the course the world is currently pursuing.
Photo, left: three third graders speak at rally. Photo by Bill Wellhouse
Another speaker, Janina Moretti, representing SanDiego350, a local climate action group, announced an upcoming climate justice march. The local group’s national organization, 350.org, has formed a coalition of climate groups that calls themselves the People’s Climate Movement. They are organizing a march on Washington D.C. on April 29th to protest the Trump administration's threat to renege on US commitments made as part of the IPCC’s Paris Agreement. The agreement has been ratified by the required number of the world’s countries, which included the US. Ms. Moretti announced a sister march, held here in San Diego on the day of the national march, and encouraged everyone present to not only join but invite everyone they know to attend, for the sake of all.
On the chilly evening, many in the crowd were in a good mood, enjoyed the music and the pleasant evening, and felt they were a part of something important. One woman, new to San Diego, had come to learn how she could volunteer in the climate movement. Six-year-old Sofia attended with her mother, was very proud of her sneakers that sparkled with colored lights, and perhaps missed the presenters’ finer points. Shana participated in the rally and is helping organize the Science March on April 22nd, which will also have a national event in Washington D.C. and a local event here in San Diego, as well as other cities across the nation and around the world. She was looking for opportunities for mutual support in organizing upcoming climate rallies, marches, and protests.
Photo, right: Janina Moretti speaks at the rally. Photo by Bill Wellhouse
At the rally’s end, one participant sat with others on a bench, still holding up a sign “Climate Change Is Not A Chinese Hoax.”
Bill Wellhouse is a retired educator who believes there is a need for strong action on climate change. He is currently a member of the SanDiego350 Steering Committee.