By Christina Luick
A group of people gathered at Red Arrow Park with signs and flags in hand in support of the Paris Climate Agreement at a rally and march organized by 350 Milwaukee last Saturday.
The group stood together in the shade to avoid the blistering heat and strong winds of that day. It was also National Day of Climate Action. Many speakers from various organizations spoke to everyone about the importance of steering away from fossil fuels, focusing on renewable energy and thanking Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett for signing the Climate Mayors statement in support of the Paris Agreement.
“Beyond thanking the mayor for this, we are also urging the city to take much more drastic measures to live up to the Paris Climate Accords Agreement and to do everything possible to stop the global greenhouse gasses and the emissions that are causing this climate change around the planet,” said Julie Enslow, a member of 350 Milwaukee and one of the event organizers.
Enslow said that it was up to them to educate people about on the issue. She said nearly 51 percent of people in the United States believe that humans are responsible for global warming.
“That is outrageous,” said Enslow. “We have to turn around people’s thinking on this.”
The number, 350, stands for the 350 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that is considered by scientists to be the top limit of how much can be in the air.
“Do you know what the number is now? 408!” said Enslow.
Ald. Michael Murphy was also at the rally, and said he was there for his daughter.
“As I talked to my little girl in the car the other day, I said, ‘Honey, I want to make sure you know that I did something, I stood up when people were doing terrible things to our planet and taking action which will affect your generation and your children’s generation,’” said Murphy. “‘And I wanted you to know that your dad wasn’t silent.’”
In his speech, Murphy said that President Trump not signing the Paris Agreement has led the United States on a path of ignorance and isolation.
“Today we are being attacked,” said Murphy. “Not from the outside, but from within. We are being attacked by our elective leaders, from the president of the United States to the governor of this state.” Murphy expressed the importance of standing together to make a difference and making sure to go out and vote. He mentioned the Milwaukee Common Council supporting the Paris Agreement at their Judiciary and Legislative Committee meeting last Monday, and trying to meet the efforts of it.
Enslow presented Murphy an award to give Barrett, who was not in attendance.
A poem was read written by Suzanne Rosenblatt which listed things that people could do to help the environment.
“Don’t be a user, love Mother Earth,” she said.
“Do not abuse her.”
Rosenblatt’s flowed smoothly as she read her poem. In almost sounded like she was singing at times.
“It’s up to you, and you, and you, and you…,” Rosenblatt said.
Chris Mier sang a song called 350 Blues, a song about leaving fossil fuels in the ground.
“Hey President Trump, you gotta play fair, we only want clean water and air,” Mier sang.
Rev. Jennifer Nordstrom from the First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee said that when she thought about the Paris Agreement and the choices the United States is making today about climate change, that these are not political questions but moral questions.
“Right now, we are making choices that are going to determine whether or not our children and our grandchildren have a planet to live on,” said Nordstrom. “Today we are making choices that determine whether or not our children and our grandchildren will be plagued by floods and droughts and super storms and heatwaves. Whether or not they will have enough food to eat and those are moral questions.”
In the end, it was decided that the group would not walk around City Hall as originally planned due to the extreme heat.
Other speakers at the event included: Jack Murtaugh, United Nations Association of Milwaukee, Huda Alkaff, Founder of Wisconsin Green Muslim, Clarence Nicholas, First Vice President of NAACP, Dennis Merrit, Citizen Climate Lobby and George Martin, Milwaukee350.