‘Not a Democrat or Republican Issue’ — Activists, Lawmakers Rally for Climate Change Action

Apr 29, 2017

Across the country, environmental activists held rallies and marches Saturday urging action on climate change. In Maine, a rally was held outside the State House, with a march circling Capitol Park and passing the Blaine House, the governor’s official residence.

“We are growing stronger by numbers and we are going to take back the control of protecting our Earth for future generations,” said Sarah LaChance of 350 Maine, one of the organizers of the event.

The Natural Resources Council of Maine and the Maine Conservation Alliance helped organize the march and rally. Organizers stressed that elected officials need to act on climate change to protect the state’s natural resources and its future.

Some political leaders attended the event to lend their support.

“My message is really very simple. Climate change is not a Democrat or Republican issue,” said Republican state Sen. Roger Katz of Augusta.

Katz told the crowd they need to stay organized and make their views known to lawmakers as they consider legislation addressing climate change.

“We will fight climate change, we will enact policies that do it, we will march and we will make a difference,” said Democratic House Speaker Sara Gideon of Freeport.

House Speaker Sara Gideon
Credit Mal Leary / Maine Public

Gideon told the rally the issues are personal to her, and that she has often spoke with her son about the need to pass legislation to mitigate climate change.

Richard Nelson, a lobsterman from Friendship Harbor, said failure to protect the environment is affecting state fisheries, and government at all levels needs to act.

“Acidic waters make it more difficult for shellfish to produce their shells and makes lobster more vulnerable to prey and have less energy for reproduction,” he said.

Others, like Melissa Mann with the Maine Conservation Alliance, said it’s clear states need to act, because the federal government won’t.

Marchers go past the Blaine House in Augusta Saturday.
Credit Mal Leary / Maine Public

“President Trump is not going to protect people and our environment from the threats of climate change,” she said, “despite the fact that the majority of U.S. citizens believe climate change is happening and we need to act now.”

Several speakers also urged those attending the rally to take the time to testify on several bills up for public hearing at the Legislature later this week.