Hundreds participated in the People’s Climate March at Serra Sculpture Park in downtown St. Louis on Saturday to voice opposition to the Trump Administration’s policies on global warming.
Satellite marches took place in several cities while the main march took place in Washington D.C. More than 100,000 people showed up at the Washington D.C. march, according to reports. The marches were hosted by .350.org, an international environmental organization.
Cheryl Kemner, a sister of the Franciscan Sisters of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, stood in Serra Sculpture Park with a sign that said “caring for our common home.”
“We try to educate and collaborate with other groups,” said Kemner. “We try to care for the earth.”
Kemer said there was a connection between climate change and peace.
“Climate change affects the poor,” she said. “Who else would need more help? We want peace in everybody’s lives. If the poor have to scramble harder, if they don’t get their fair share of the common good, then we’re affecting their peace.”
Mark Peters, a clinical dietitian, said he demonstrated out of concern.
“I’ve studied nature all of my life, for 55 years,” Peters said. “I started bird watching when I was five. I’ve seen the changes over time with non-native invasive plants and their influence on the environment. So, that’s what sparked it.”
Peters also said the cause of climate change and peace are connected.
“With food insecurity in the third word, as the climate changes, it will impact their issues,” he said. “It will make things worse with climate change.”
Kent Krimmel attended with a group of people from the Ethical Society in Clayton. Like others, he said he attended out of concern.
“I think that climate change is real and that it’s going to be harmful to humanity if we continue with the path that it’s currently on,” Krimmel said. “A more volatile climate will make for a more volatile situation between nations if this continues.”
Kathleen Henry stood in the park with a sign that said “groper in chief, climate change is real.”
“The planet is quickly become uninhabitable,” Henry said. “We need to be worried; we need to take action.”
Henry said climate change induced migrations are already underway and that those migrations could negatively impact security and peace. Sierra Club member Tom Ball carried a Sierra Club sign at the demonstration.
“The signals of climate change are so strong that they cause wars,” Ball said. “And you can look to the Middle East for a lot of this.”
A number of speakers addressed the crowd in Serra Sculpture Park. City of St. Louis Treasurer Tishaura Jones spoke. In her recent campaign for mayor, Jones spoke of the goal on transitioning the city to 100 percent renewable energy by 2040.
“If you want to change the game and redefine St. Louis,” she said. “Keep people at the front and center of your agenda. You know what you are representing at the climate march, keep people at the front because it saves people’s lives – a healthy climate saves people’s lives.”
Jean Ponzi, host of the radio show Earthworms, talked about the investment in green technology by local businesses.
“Businesses today are investing in sustainability because young customers expect it and talent expects it,” Ponzi said. “So, the millennial generation is driving sustainability into the mainstream. We need to work with businesses in our community to work for these goals.”
The demonstrators, carrying signs that said “love trumps hate,” “save our earth,” “climate change is real” and “alternative energy, not alternative facts,” walked from the park on Chestnut Street and onto Third Street and then returned to the park via Market Street. Many chanted things like “clean energy now,” “fight climate change” and “the earth is dying.” Anne Bartonveenkart, a volunteer for .350.org, called the demonstration a success.
“We wanted to bring many people in the St. Louis region together to keep carbon in the ground,” Bartonveenkart said. “To pressure our local governments, and the government at all levels, and show them that fighting climate change is important for people in St. Louis and to build a new local economy that’s equitable for all people.”