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Climate Justice Day in Grand Rapids

October 24, 2009

On Saturday, about 60 people gathered in Rosa Parks Circle to be part of an action in conjunction with International Climate Justice Day. Students from several colleges brought people together to be part of the international 350 Campaign.


People gathered in rainy weather and listened to music and several speakers. One speaker was a student at Kendall College and belonged to the Green Council. Another student from GVSU was the event host. She said that she would be a youth delegate at the Climate Conference in Copenhagen in early December.

A woman from the West Michigan Environmental Action Council also spoke, but didn’t have much to say about climate change other than their organization was distributing energy efficient light bulbs. The only speaker to address the major causes of climate change was Lee Sprague, an organizer with the Sierra Club.

Sprague is working on a campaign to prevent the construction of eight new coal-fired power plants that have been proposed in Michigan. So far organizing efforts have prevented two of the plants from being built. The Sierra Club organizer said that 40% of the carbon emissions in the world are created from the burning of coal. Sprague also asked those in attendance to go online and counter the messages of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE), a coal industry front group.

Once the speakers were done people marched over to the Calder Plaza so they could participate in forming the numbers 350 with their bodies and bikes. This picture would be shared with activists around the world as past of the campaign.

After most people went home a group of 13 people participated in a Critical Mass bike ride from downtown Grand Rapids to Consumers Energy near 36th street. The bike ride was designed to draw attention to one of the main polluters in the area, Consumers Energy, which distributes electricity that was generated from a coal-fired power plant. Those who organized the bike ride and banner drop talked a bit on camera about what motivated them to take this action.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Dorothy Martin permalink
    October 25, 2009 11:59 am

    Let’s hear more about these kind of activities from this generation. This is upllifting to read about. Thanks. Dorothy Martin

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