Utah Joins People's Climate March

Apr 29, 2017

Utahns joined marchers around the world Saturday for what was called “The People’s Climate March.” They gathered outside Salt Lake City’s downtown library.

“We refuse to give up,” Piper Christian told the crowd.

Christian set the tone by telling how state lawmakers have rejected two, student-initiated climate measures this year. A seasoned climate activist even though she’s a high school junior, Christian said the march energized her.

“I think it has potential to be a major turning point,” she said. “All getting together and meeting in places like this, and gaining that morale and optimism that we can take this on, and it’s an amazing opportunity to network and realize that we can do amazing things together.”

Organizers estimated a crowd of about 1,500.

“I think we’re seeing a sort of movement of young people becoming involved with politics, me being one of them,” said Brendan Phillips, part of a team gathering signatures to qualify the Green Party to be on Utah ballots. “People are realizing they need to be involved if we want to save our planet.”

Speeches linked social justice, refugees and indigenous rights to the broader goal of protecting the world from carbon pollution.

Jim Westwater, who founded the Utah Valley Earth Forum a decade ago, credited climate skepticism in the Trump administration for inspiring such a big crowd.

“It is very encouraging,” he said, “to see young people standing up and express themselves and their concern for the future that our older generations are leading us in.”

The rally at Library Square ended with a march to the Governor’s Mansion.