State Rep. Frank Hornstein was among a group of Minneapolis residents who joined about 250 other Minnesotans in traveling to Washington, D.C, for the April 29 People’s Climate March to urge action on protecting the environment.
Attended by what organizers estimate were 300,000 people, the march coincided with President Trump’s 100th day in office. The five busloads of marchers from Minnesota included Hornstein and his Southwest Minneapolis neighbors Ann Manning and Patty O’Keefe.
The march took place in 91-degree heat on a day of record-breaking high temperatures in the Washington, D.C., area.
“It was almost too hot to march at the global warming march,” joked O’Keefe.
Hornstein described as “very concerning” the direction of environmental policy under President Trump and his pick to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, who has questioned the settled science of global warming caused by human activity. An executive order Trump signed in March ordered Pruitt to undo much of President Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which targeted the greenhouse gas emissions produced by power plants, and the president has publicly toyed with pulling out of the Paris Agreement, a global plan to limit human-caused climate change.
“It’s alarming because we’re currently in a climate crisis,” said O’Keefe, an organizer with environmental nonprofit MN350, noting that in April the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere registered at 410 parts per million for the first time in human history. Created mostly by burning fossil fuels, atmospheric carbon dioxide is associated with a warming climate.
“It’s already impacting people’s lives viscerally,” O’Keefe said, adding that as the planet warms we experience more extreme weather and rising sea levels. “… The time to act was yesterday.”
“It just seems like we are on the brink of no return,” said Manning, who leads the Women’s Congress for Future Generations.
All three, however, described the march as an inspiring event. Manning said local environmental activists are “on fire” and planning multiple actions each day.
“What we really need now is collective action to show the muscles of the movement,” O’Keefe said.