Launching from the Port of Los Angeles in Wilmington, one of the most fossil-fuel polluted communities in the country, the Great March for Climate Action Energizes Communities to Act on Climate Change. A few weeks after the march, the Valero Refinery in Wilmington withdrew their application for a tar sands depot. A coincidence? Maybe…
Hundreds March from the Port of LA Toward Downtown to Launch the Coast-to-Coast Great March for Climate Action
LOS ANGELES – Inspired by California’s worst drought in 500 years, record melt of Arctic Sea ice, and worldwide extreme weather events, climate marchers braved much-needed rain showers to demand urgent national action on climate change. Led by SoCal Climate Action Coalition 350, Sierra Club and a wide coalition of over 100 groups, hundreds of activists and supporters held a rally hosted by actor and environmentalist Ed Begley Jr., with speeches from community leaders including LA City Councilmen Joe Buscaino and Paul Koretz.
Councilmember Paul Koretz said, “These marchers are my heroes. When we take a cumulative look at all the extreme weather events going on around the world, including California’s record-breaking drought, we need climate action and we need it now.”
Children from schools all over Southern California joined a flash mob of the going-viral, “Sing for the Climate” and participated in a Climate Action Fair. Marchers at the same time set off from the Port toward Downtown LA and USC, launching the Great March for Climate Action – the largest national environmental march in history. Hundreds plan to continue their journey through the San Gabriel Valley and on to Washington D.C., out talking with everyday citizens along the way about how they can help solve the global climate crisis.
Wild weather, extreme storms, melting of the Arctic glaciers: the pattern is unmistakable. Record drought ravages California and Australia, Typhoon Haiyan kills 6,000 people in the Philippines, 25 out-of-season tornadoes leave a trail of destruction in one Illinois fall day. The climate has officially gone haywire. — Jack Eidt in “Common Dreams“
“We’ve seen climate change coming for a long time, but now it’s here, and it’s getting worse faster and causing greater harm than we ever expected,” retiring Congressman Henry Waxman said in a statement read at the rally. “It is absolutely critical that we address our ever-increasing levels of greenhouse gas emissions by promoting the development and use of more efficient and cleaner energy alternatives.”
The organizers chose to rally in the LA Harbor neighborhood of Wilmington, where over 650,000 barrels of crude are refined every day at the largest concentration of oil refineries in the state. Pollution also comes from oil drilling, ports, and diesel trucking, amid a proposed uptick in extreme drilling methods like hydraulic fracturing (or “fracking”) and shipping and refining of corrosive and toxic Canadian tar sands oil into Southern California.
“California has signed on to an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gases by 2050, part of its Global Warming Solutions Act,” said Jessica Aldridge, Organizer for SoCal Climate Action Coalition 350. “Scientific studies have shown this is achievable through energy efficiency and conservation, as well as a transition to clean electricity. Unfortunately, we are doing the opposite: Dirty and corrosive Tar Sands is now proposed for shipping via rail to the Valero refinery in Wilmington, and President Obama is still considering approving the climate- and ecosystem-killing Keystone XL Pipeline.”
Video of March 1 of the Great March for Climate Action by Colby Allerton
Marchers celebrated, however, the vote by the Los Angeles City Council Friday to prioritize a fracking moratorium in LA, to ensure the future wellbeing and safety of city residents and their neighborhoods. “We congratulate the Los Angeles City Council for supporting the L.A. fracking moratorium motion, a strong step toward protecting the people of Los Angeles from severe health and environmental impacts,” California director of Food & Water Watch Adam Scow said at the rally. “We urge the city attorney to stand by the motion’s strong language and to set a powerful, positive example for other communities and Governor Brown, who should immediately enact a statewide moratorium to protect all Californians.”
In that spirit, public officials and community leaders at the rally called on President Obama, Congress, and Governor Brown to take strong administrative action toward ensuring a carbon-free economy based on clean, renewable energy, without use of fossil fuels in transportation and electric generation. “Dirty fuels like coal have no place in the 21st Century,” said long time Sierra Club LA Beyond Coal volunteer Spike Lewis, who is marching for the EPA to regulate carbon emissions from power plants. “It’s outrageous that there are still no limits on the amount of carbon pollution that dirty coal-fired power plants are allowed to spew into the air.”
Activists voiced support for strong measures to preserve California’s water supply, coasts, and forests for future generations. With California facing a future of heat waves, droughts, wildfires, and sea level rise, this local celebration of a national march showed a growing groundswell demanding immediate action to ramp up renewable energy production and break our addiction to dirty, climate-damaging and polluting fuels.
Downloadable Press Packets:
Speakers: SPEAKER BIOS-Great March for Climate-2014-Final
Flyer: Great March for Climate Flyer – English and Spanish
Press Advisory: – Great March for Climate Action – LA Launch
Community-Based Climate Action Letter – Great March Climate Action SoCal
Twitter Hashtag: #FwdClimateLA #ClimateMarch #SoCal350 #ClimateChangeisPersonal