Photo by Kirby Neumann-Rea
COOL IT, says a sign held by a participant at Saturday’s Earth Day rally, an event drawing attention to climate and environmental issues.
As of Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Young people took the lead in Saturday’s Earth Day rally and march on the lawn below Hood River Library in downtown Hood River, attended by about 50 people. They are already looking ahead to Earth Day 2019, and asking everyone to do the same.
Hood River Valley High School Earth Club members asked all in attendance to think of at least one action they can take to help the earth, and to practice it for the coming year.
“The fight for regaining respect for our planet is far from over,” said Sofie Larsen-Teskey, lead speaker at the event.
Larsen-Teskey said young people took the lead in the first Earth Day in 1970 and have taken the lead again in 2018 in efforts for social change.
“We are demanding change, and we are powerful,” said Larsen-Teskey, an officer with Earth Club, which organized the day’s events. The rally and march culminated in a concert at Waterfront Park.
Her Columbia High School counterpart, Rachel Luther, said Earth Day is “the largest secular holiday in the United States,” and is now celebrated in 193 countries, up from 141 in 1990. Luther, with the CHS Global Club, said that as a Washington resident she is proud to be a resident of the “third most green state in the U.S.”
“Climate change is not one person’s problem, it is all the states’ problem, is it all nations’ problem, and the only way we are going to fix it is by working together,” Luther said.
“The earth is like your house: you have to clean it, protect, and upgrade it. Educate those who do not yet understand.
“Don’t let your passion end today,” Luther said, urging anyone posting to social media to use the hashtag #beforenextearthday.
Also speaking was Mayor Paul Blackburn, who said to remain hopeful but engaged, and to always doubt any assumption, but not to demonize others, urging residents to avoid the us-versus-them way of thinking and to remember that people on the other end of the spectrum are just as critical.
Drive less, and “don’t mourn — organize,” he said, quoting the early 20th century activist Joe Hill.
Blackburn urged the crowd to raise their voices to Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, “who are with us, and to Greg Walden, who is not.”