Charlottesville Rallies Highlight Climate Change
Arif Vega, Staff Writer
Oct. 14, 2015
Around 200 concerned citizens rallied to discuss climate change Oct. 14. Protesters carried “no pipeline” signs. Handheld wind turbines spun above the crowd signaling support of renewable energy. Speakers from Wild Virginia, 350.org, UVA and other community members from central Virginia told stories and discussed the economics relevant to the discussion. The event, coordinated by Hannah Wiegard of Appalachian Voices, was held in tandem with a global call to action, commemorating the massive 2014 marches in New York and around the globe. The rallies also come in anticipation of the 2015 global summit on climate change in Paris a month and a half later.
Among the other cities involved in the action were New York City, Seattle, Miami and Denver. Protested issues were largely fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas, and oil. Emphasis was on renewable energy. In Charlottesville, the Nelson County pipeline was heavily criticized.
These protests come at a time of environmental crisis. Climate change is accelerating beyond human involvement, according to Dr. Phillip Rasch, Chief Scientist for Climate Science at Pacific Northwest National Labs, a DOE laboratory. Rasch speaks on a multitude of issues that accelerate climate change, including melting snow, forest fires, gasified methane and pest migration.
Rasch acknowledges a minority of climate change deniers of two to four percent among the science community. His laboratory takes them seriously and explores their theories with the same vigor as any others. In the end he argues that the evidence for human influence affecting climate change is overwhelming. Besides, he argues, “You can probably get in your car and not wear a seatbelt and drive around and be safe. But you wouldn’t.”
An after party was held at Firefly, on Meade Avenue, later in the evening. Organizers and protesters met to socialize and network for future actions. Tentative plans emerged for actions coinciding with the Paris summit and the Sierra Club’s actions both inside and without.