Atlantans join international day of ‘Rise for Climate’ rallies


A group of Atlantans was among those who gathered around the world Saturday to rally for measures to combat climate change. 

Nearly 100 people came together at Cleopas R. Johnson Park, located on Atlanta Student Movement Boulevard, not far from the Atlanta University Center, for the city’s version of the international “Rise for Climate” protests. The rallies were organized in support of a summit scheduled next week in San Francisco. 

California’s governor proposed the Global Climate Action Summit after President Donald Trump vowed to pull the United States out of the landmark 2015 climate accord signed in Paris.

“We need to be building solar, we need to be doing energy efficiency, we need to drive electric cars,” Stephanie Stuckey said at Atlanta’s rally. Stuckey is the former sustainability director for the city of Atlanta and a current member of the Sierra Club Foundation’s Board of Directors.

“We need to have more greenspace, we need to keep our trees and quit tearing down trees for development ...,” she added. “We need to do all of the above, and most importantly we need to do things like what we’re doing today.”

Atlanta’s event — dubbed “Rise for Climate, Jobs and Justice” — was put on by groups including the Georgia Sierra Club, Science for the People and 350ATL, the local arm of an organization that fights the fossil fuel industry.

The crowd was passionate but was not among the largest events reported around the country and the world. An estimated 18,000 people marched in Paris, according to reports. Thousands also gathered in San Francisco. 

Atlanta’s gathering, though, had an added focus on the effect of climate change on local jobs, housing and energy.

“It’s also about social justice,” explained Jasmine Clark, a scientist from Georgia State University and candidate for the state Legislature. “Because at the end of the day, a lot of the people affected most by this are low income people and people in low socioeconomic statuses. This is an issue that expands far beyond, ‘Oh it’s hot out here today.’”

—The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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