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Climate Marchers Rally in New England

  • People gather for a climate rally on Boston Common in Boston, Saturday, April 29, 2017. Organizers say they’re marking President Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office by protesting his agenda so far. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

  • People gather for a climate rally on Boston Common in Boston, Saturday, April 29, 2017. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Published: 4/30/2017 12:02:42 AM
Modified: 4/30/2017 12:46:33 AM

Thousands of demonstrators gathered at rallies across New England on Saturday in events organized to coincide with a national climate march in Washington, D.C., and President Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office

Rallies occurred in cities including Boston; Concord and Portsmouth, N.H.; Montpelier, Vt.; and Augusta, Maine, with participants calling for the government to tackle environmental and economic problems stemming from climate change.

Organizers in New Hampshire said the Trump administration has attacked “hard-won protections of our climate, health, and communities.” The rally in Concord was sponsored by groups including the New Hampshire Sierra Club, the Union of Concerned Scientists, the Conservation Law Foundation, the League of Conservation Voters the Sutton Conservation Commission, Kearsarge Changing Climate Change, and several others.

In Montpelier, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and Democratic Rep. Peter Welch spoke at the rally at the Statehouse while U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy hosted Vermonters marching in Washington.

Sanders, who addressed an adoring crowd of about 3,000 people, said the climate marches are part of a fight for the future of the planet.

The former candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination said the fossil fuel industry puts short-term profits ahead of the best interests of the planet. He went through a litany of climate woes, including rising temperatures and increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, but he also noted a series of accomplishments that include ever-dropping costs of renewable energy production and well-paying jobs in renewable power.

The Montpelier rally was supported by several statewide and national environmental organizations, including the Sierra Club, 350VT, the Vermont Public Interest Research Group, the Vermont Natural Resources Council and Vermont Interfaith Power.

In Boston, thousands gathered at the Boston Common carrying signs that read: “We won’t go back,” “Science Trump’s Ignorance” and “Dump Trump.” The Rev. Mariama White-Hammond of Bethel AME Church told the crowd, “We are here because there is no Planet B.”

Organizers and participants said their aim was to protest Trump’s efforts to roll back protections for the climate and his assaults on air, water and land and to focus on how climate change affects all communities, including marginalized groups.

The Maine People’s Climate March took place outside the Maine Statehouse in Augusta, where more than 2,000 people gathered to hear speakers including a lobsterman, a solar company owner and members of the Penobscot Nation tribe.Organizers said they intended to draw attention to the damage climate change can do industries such as farming, forestry and seafood.

“I’ve seen firsthand the impacts of climate change to not only the Gulf of Maine, but also to our evolving fisheries, and to the coastal communities that depend upon them,” said lobsterman Richard Nelson of Friendship, Maine.

People in the crowd spoke about the importance of addressing climate change. Saharlah Farah, a 16-year old immigrant from Somalia who lives in Portland, talked about how climate change could have a bigger toll on marginalized groups that have less financial resources.

“But I see untapped power here today,” she said.

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