Today’s Washington DC march supporting the need to deal with climate change will reflect some of the concerns that were evident here a week ago when some 350 to 400 people participated in all or part of a march from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire campus to Phoenix Park.
Last Saturday’s local march was part of a national March for Science effort to express public support for scientific endeavors. It was also designated as a satellite march for the People’s Climate Movement march scheduled for Washington, DC today (April 29)
The Eau Claire march was organized by members of the local chapter of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) together with representatives from a number of other Chippewa Valley groups, including the Sierra Club and Citizen’s Action Organizing Cooperative – Western Wisconsin.
Home Page photo: Some of the 350-400 participants in the April 22 march in support of science and of action on climate change issues are shown as they listened to the event’s final speakers in Phoenix Park. (Photo by Rev. David Huber)
Prof. James Boulter, director of the UW-EC Watershed Institute and a march organizer, provided introductory remarks before the marchers left the lawn at the Haas Fine Arts Center. Prof. Paul Thomas of the Physics and Astronomy department discussed the Planet Walk which marked various stopping points on the march. Thomas was instrumental in establishing the walk.
Among the others who spoke at various points along the line of march were Ethan Furhman, a student who talked about remediation in Owen Park; Prof. Doug Faulkner of the Geography and Anthropology department, who discussed physical geography and the environment of the Chippewa River; Celeste Snyder, who discussed Islam and care for the environment; and Eau Claire City Council President Kerry Kincaid, who noted the importance of science in policy making and also discussed the process of cleaning up the land that is now Phoenix Park.
Rev. David Huber, the pastor at Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ in Eau Claire, said he got involved in the march because science has long been a subject of great interest to him.
“I grew up in a church that was always supportive of science, and it wasn’t until I was much older that I came to know that there are some faith traditions that deny evolution, and deny climate change and other facts that science has given us,” he told the Chippewa Valley Post.
“I find that very bothersome, so as a clergy person it’s been very important to me to be vocal and outspoken about how religion and science are not enemies, and that our faith needs to mold to conform to science, not the other way around,” he added.
One of the groups supporting the march was JONAH (Joining our Neighbors, Advancing HOPE), a local faith-based group focused on social justice concerns. Its president, Sandra McKinney, commented that “JONAH takes a position on protecting the environment, insuring the right to clean water and air for today and for future generations.
“Joining in supporting the March for Science and Climate is a small step, but perhaps the small steps taken by hundreds will be giant steps toward change,” she added.