On Earth Day in March, CO Enviro groups rally for stronger climate action from Polis, Biden

This Earth Day, with much of Colorado under critical wildfire watch due to high winds and high heat, a coalition of 60 environmental groups marched just over a mile through central- city ​​of Denver today to demand climate action from elected officials.

A pre-march rally was held on the east side of the Colorado Capitol building and featured speakers who had been personally affected by wildfires exacerbated by climate change.

One of the speakers was Susan Nedell, a Mountain West Advocate with Environmental Entrepreneurs, a national group of business leaders advocating for a cleaner environment. Nedell lost his home in the Marshall Fire in December.

“We cannot let another Earth Day pass without instituting major changes toward a clean energy economy,” Nedell said at the rally. “The devastating Marshall Fire, which cost the community more than $513 million, is a stark reminder that the cost of inaction on our lives and wallets far outweighs the cost of preventing another climate crisis.”

The groups delivered a petition to Gov. Jared Polis (D-CO), the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment calling for a climate emergency declaration . The petition — signed by thousands of Coloradans — also demanded that Polis work with state organizations to phase out fossil fuel production by 2030 and decarbonize the state’s construction, transportation and manufacturing sectors.

The petition can be read here.

In February, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its latest report on the impacts that climate change will have on humanity. His conclusion was grim.

“I have seen many scientific reports in my time, but nothing like this,” UN Secretary General Antònio Guterres said when presenting the report. “Today’s IPCC report is an atlas of human suffering and a damning condemnation of failed climate leadership.”

Hannah Recht, representing the Colorado Thrives Coalition, a group fighting the climate crisis in a way that centers racial and economic justice, communities of color and workers’ rights, also spoke at the rally to demand a radical change in the way Colorado is fighting the climate crisis.

“We know that the oppressive systems that got us into this mess aren’t the same ones that are going to get us out,” Recht said.

Recht challenged elected officials in Colorado and at the federal level for their lack of action on climate issues. In August 2021, environmental groups in Colorado sent postcards to US Senator John Hickenlooper’s office demanding congressional action on climate change.

“Eight months ago we went together and visited Senator Hickenlooper’s office with letters signed by 700 Coloradans,” Recht said at today’s rally. “We called on him and our entire congressional delegation to champion federal action on climate, care, jobs, and justice. They promised they were working on it. They promised it was a priority and we are heading into a long wildfire season with no action.

Here are the National Environmental Scorecard results for each member of Colorado’s congressional delegation, according to the League of Conservation Voters:

While Joe Biden has reversed some Trump-era policies that relaxed environmental regulations, some environmental groups have criticized the president’s record on climate change issues.

“We joined thousands of people across the country this weekend to demand that President Biden, Congress, local elected officials and Governor Polis take action to address the large-scale climate crisis, invest in essential care workers, creating dignified jobs protected by unions and prioritizing investments in the communities most affected,” said Recht.

After the rally, a group of about 100 marched from the Capitol to the Federal Reserve Building along 16and Street Mall to call for an end to fossil fuel funding.

Giselle Herzfeld, coordinator of the Defunding Climate Disaster campaign for 350 Colorado, a grassroots movement that advocates for a US energy grid entirely free of fossil fuels, explained her position in a press release accompanying the march.

“Scientists around the world have sent a clear message: we have only a short time to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and keep global warming below 1.5° Celsius,” said Herzfeld. “Despite this, the banks on Wall Street have continued to pump hundreds of billions of dollars into the fossil fuel industry, led by the US Federal Reserve. That is why Earth Day, we call the Federal Reserve to stop funding the climate crisis and start funding a Green New Deal.

Wall Street banks have invested hundreds of billions of dollars in oil, gas and coal companies, and are sticking with their investments despite the growing climate crisis.

“More coal, more oil, keep that carbon in the ground,” the group chanted as they marched.

Scientists have reached a consensus that humans must reduce global emissions by 2030, underscoring the importance of keeping global warming below 1.5° Celsius.

Here is what some of the signs on the march read:

  • Code red: climate emergency
  • Fossil Free Federal Reserve
  • End Fossil Fuel Funding
  • Demand climate action now
  • CO needs bold climate action now
  • In 2020, the Fed gave fossil fuel companies $2.22 billion
  • We need a Fed chair for climate leadership
  • I can’t believe after all these years we still have to protest this shit!

Here is the list of sponsoring organizations for the Earth Day March and Rally:

350 Colorado, Be the Change – Colorado, Broomfield Health & Safety First, Capitol Heights Presbyterian Church, CatholicNetwork, Clean Energy Action, Colorado Sierra Club, Colorado Thrives Coalition, Collective for Another World, Colorado Businesses for a Livable Climate, Colorado Call to Action , Colorado Coalition for a Livable Climate, Colorado Latino Forum, E2 – Environmental Entrepreneurs, Cultivando, Empower Our Future, Denver Metro Chapter Climate Reality, Fort Collins Sustainability Group, GreenLatinos, Indivisible Colorado, Larimer Alliance, Natural Resources Defense Council, North Range Concerned Citizens, Northern Colorado Community Rights Network, Rainforest Action Network, Rocky Mountain Peace & Justice Center, Safe & Healthy Colorado, Save EPA, Small Business Alliance, Spirit of the Sun, Together Against Neighborhood Drilling, Together Colorado Climate Justice Committee, Unite North Metro Denver, Women’s Wall

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