Discover more from Steve Ahlquist
Climate Action Rhode Island journeys to the March to End Fossil Fuels in New York
It turns out our state is well-known for contributing to climate change via one particular export.
Organizers estimated that 75,000 people participated in the March to End Fossil Fuels on Sunday to demand that United States President Joe Biden use his executive powers to end the development and exploitation of fossil fuels.
52 of those marching took a 7 a.m. charter bus leaving from the front of the Rhode Island State House. On board the bus were members of Climate Action Rhode Island (CARI) and young people from Sunrise Brown University, as well as other climate activists and a couple of reporters.
"This was the largest demonstration pressuring Biden since he took office and the largest climate mobilization since the start of the pandemic," wrote organizer Allie Rosenbluth with the national climate group Oil Change International (OCI). "It follows more than 700 other #EndFossilFuels actions in 65 countries, with 600,000 people joining over this weekend, with more on the way."
It took three hours to watch the entire march. Climate Action Rhode Island was right near the end and the fact that they were from Rhode Island did not go unnoticed. It turns out our state is well-known for contributing to climate change via one particular export.
"Hey, you're from Rhode Island," said a young man with a megaphone wearing an Oil Change International tee shirt. "Do you mind if I go off on Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo?" Raimondo is the former Governor of Rhode Island and now serves as Commerce Secretary in the Biden Administration.
"Go for it," said Lauren Niedel, one of the three members of CARI holding the banner.
The man with the megaphone then proceeded to talk about how Secretary Raimondo, working on behalf of President Biden, pursues economic policies that undermine efforts to avoid climate catastrophe. Sadly, I don't have what he said on video.
"I thought it was the perfect takedown," said Lauren Niedel. "Too many people across the country have no idea what an anti-environmentalist and corporatist Raimondo is. Whether it's welcoming Invenergy1 and their attempt to put a fracked gas power plant in the state or destroying public pensions, Raimondo is all in favor of runaway capitalism at the expense of the 99%. She could care less about environmental concerns in her own state - never mind the rest of the country."
Weeks ago Secretary Raimondo was interrupted by climate protesters during a discussion at the Wilson Center about "economic cooperation in the Indo-Pacific" just as she was similarly protested by climate activists while Governor of Rhode Island.
Secretary Raimondo, it seems, is emblematic of the Biden Administration's lack of focus on climate change. On the one hand, the President has dedicated the largest amount of funding towards transitioning the country off fossil fuels through his ambitious American Rescue Plan Act, on the other hand, Biden continues to approve massive fossil fuel extraction projects, such as the Willow Project in Alaska.
Protesters were sending a very simple message when it comes to climate change: Stop, or in the words of United States Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, protesters are, "demanding a cessation of what is killing us.
"This issue," continued Representative Ocasio-Cortez, "is the biggest issue of our time, and because of that, we must be too big and too radical to ignore."
You can watch her full speech here:
The consequences of inaction could be dire. Many of those marching are committed to voting for Biden in the next election only if he delivers real, meaningful action on climate change.
“President Bide, end fossil fuels,” said 17-year-old Emma Lou Buretta. “If you want our vote, if you don't want the blood of our generations to be on your hands, end fossil fuels... Or, you can ignore us, and we will ignore you...”
Young people sitting out the next presidential election may well tip the elections to a climate-denying Republican candidate.
Steve Ahlquist is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
Before the march began there was a press conference that can be seen here:
“The construction of this clean energy generation facility will create hundreds of jobs while delivering more affordable and reliable energy to our businesses and homes,” said Raimondo about the fracked gas and diesel oil burning power plant aimed at the pristine forests of Burrillville, Rhode Island in 2018. “We are tackling our regional energy challenges, committing to cleaner energy systems in the long-term, and putting Rhode Islanders back to work.”