Protect our Planet protestors plea for environmental protection, awareness

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Protect our Planet protestors plea for environmental protection, awareness

Local Protect our Planet protestors take to the streets with signs and informational pamphlets.

Local Protect our Planet protestors take to the streets with signs and informational pamphlets.

Douglas Harding

Local Protect our Planet protestors take to the streets with signs and informational pamphlets.

Douglas Harding

Douglas Harding

Local Protect our Planet protestors take to the streets with signs and informational pamphlets.

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Many of the world’s largest cities could be underwater by the turn of the century if humans do not drastically change their ways within the next decade, according to recent studies conducted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Recent science reveals if humans do not begin significantly combatting climate change within the next twelve years, negative consequences, such as the flooding of cities like New Orleans, Louisiana; Miami, Florida; Houston, Texas; Boston, Massachusetts; and Virginia Beach,  Virginia, could be effectively irreversible, according to a recent Business Insider article.

Protestors attempt to engage local passersby (left: Mark Connelly, left-center: Barbara Garnett, right-center: Jessie Maynard, right: Charles Britz).

“We need to do something about climate change now,” Charles Britz, a lifelong Huntingtonian, said at a Protect our Planet protest Thursday at the Cabell County Court House in Huntington.

Policy ideas like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal, which aims to decrease the United States’ dependence on fossil fuels and initiate the usage of renewable resources, are necessary to effectively and efficiently combat climate change, Britz said.

Changes in weather patterns are already leading to more severe weather outbreaks and the endangerment and extinction of struggling species across the world, said Barbara Garnett, outreach captain for Women’s March West Virginia’s Huntington chapter, at Thursday’s protest.

West Virginia has a long history of environmental abuse, Garnett said, and the state’s economy has long been built on the success of the fossil fuel and timber industries.

“This is a beautiful place and a natural treasure, but it won’t be if we don’t switch to more sustainable industries and energy sources— and the time for action is now,” Garnett said.

Poor areas like West Virginia are suffering the most from the impacts of climate change, Britz said, noting the various environmental dangers, like increased risk of spills related to hydraulic fracturing of the land surrounding natural oil and gas wells in the state.

“We, as citizens, have to be informed so we can elect politicians who represent us,” Britz said. “Not just any Democrat will do. We need progressives dedicated to fighting for our values, like protecting our planet.”

In the spirit of Earth Day, which will be Monday, Garnett said she and the other protestors also came out to remind locals of an upcoming community clean up event which will take place from 10 a.m. until noon, Saturday, April 20 at Harris Riverfront Park in Huntington.

“Keep in mind the Ohio River leads to the Mississippi River, and the Mississippi River empties into the Gulf of Mexico,” Garnett said.

Plastics discarded at Harris Riverfront Park could realistically end up in the ocean and further exacerbate current global climate devastation, evidenced by the countless impacts on aquatic environments and species around the world, she said.

“We want to remind people that we only have one planet, so we have to take care of it,” Garnett said.

Douglas Harding can be contacted at [email protected]

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