Long Beach’s 2¼-mile-long boardwalk became the site of a People’s Climate March on Washington DC sister march early Saturday morning, April 29, with more than 1000 participants from Long Island and nearby areas. The event coincided with the President’s 100th day in office and occurred simultaneously with 300 other marches nationwide, drawing more than 200,000 attendees.
“We are standing where the ravages of climate change, by that I mean Hurricane Sandy, and more like it to come, wreaked havoc on this community,” said New York State Senator Todd Kaminsky (9th District). “We don’t have the option of turning our backs anymore.”
Then he led a chant, “We believe in facts. We believe in facts.”
“We are here because we care about Mother Earth and all she does to sustain and bring us joy,” said Executive Director of Long Beach Latino Civic Association Helen Dorado Alessi.
She added, “As the country which produces the largest amount of CO2 emissions on this planet, we are responsible for changing our poor behavior and holding all nations accountable for making progress and signing onto the Paris Accord.”
“We have spent the last 100 days bearing witness to President Trump’s dismantling of of the protections that we have for the environment,” said Executive Vice President of Communication Workers of America Local 1108 Mike Gendron.
“The fact is we live on an island. Climate change is very real for us,” he continued. “As we look to transition from fossil fuels to clean renewable energy, we know we’re not going to be able to count on the White House, so we’ve got to get our state houses to do that for us.”
Next, Jessica Carreiro, of Stewards of the Sea, took the platform. Only 14 years old, she spoke eloquently and enthusiastically. “Nobody’s face is going unnoticed and everybody’s voice is being heard and I want everyone to know that because that is what’s important,” Carreiro said.
“There is a lot of power and energy right here today,” said Laura Curran, 5th District Nassau County Legislator. “Together we can send the message to Washington that our environment matters and that the science is real.”
New York State Assemblyman Charles Lavine (District 13) acknowledged the presence of Planned Parenthood representatives at the rally. “For years Planned Parenthood has been the scapegoat of a philosophy that wants to take us back at least half a century,” he said.
“We are 100 days into the most regressive political administration that we have had in our lifetime,” Lavine continued. “Everything that we care about is in jeopardy.”
“Clean water is a human right. Education based on facts is a human right,” said Long Beach Council Member Anissa D. Moore. “Mother nature matters and our beloved planet is worth fighting for.”
A theme of the rally was support for New York’s offshore wind farm project, which was approved by Long Island Power Authority in January. The 15-turbine wind farm will be built between the eastern tip of Long Island and Martha’s Vineyard.
The 1-mile march concluded at the east end of the boardwalk, where organizers led attendees in a moment of silence while seated and grasping their neighbors’ hands. A banner, to be sent to Governor Andrew Cuomo, was laid out with permanent markers for marchers to sign their names and zip codes. The banner demands the governor “reconstruct our clean water infrastructure, fund communities impacted by climate change and [create] local, union, renewable jobs.”
The Long Island Climate Summit is scheduled for June 11. Details about time and location to be announced. The event will take the momentum from the Long Island People’s Climate March and create an Islandwide effort to build renewable power and a renewable economy.
The Long Island People’s Climate March was endorsed by New York Civil Liberties Union, New York Immigration Coalition, Long Island Jobs with Justice, Communication Workers of America Local 1108, Long Island Bus Riders’ Union, U.S. Green Building Council – Long Island and Working Families New York and cosponsored by Long Island Progressive Coalition, All Our Energy, Interfaith Power & Light, Sane Energy Project, Sierra Club and Stewards of the Sea.