'We have time': Activists, elected leaders call for climate action at Earth Day rally at Arizona Capitol
In an Earth Day rally almost resembling a fair, people of all ages gathered at the Arizona Capitol on Saturday afternoon to stress the urgency of the climate crisis and push for equitable action at congressional and local levels.
“The IPCC was very clear. It said unless we fundamentally change the trajectory of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, we are committing to profound and irreversible climate harms by mid-century, 2050,” said Sonja Klinsky, a professor at Arizona State University, referring to reports from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. “That gives us eight years, people.”
Speakers and attendees called on the U.S. Senate to pass the Build Back Better Act that contains $555 billion in funding to address the climate crisis, a measure that has been stalled since last November.
“In the House of Representatives and the Natural Resources committee, particularly in these last two years, we’ve done our job,” Rep. Raúl Grijalva, D-Ariz., said. “Part of the public pressure and political reality is other bodies need to do their job.”
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Under tents, environmental organizations mingled with attendees, handing out reading materials and urging people to call their political leaders for various causes. Organizers estimated more than 400 people attended the event, replete with a Mexican food truck and DJ.
While there was a strong focus on the Build Back Better Act, advocacy groups and city council members also touted local plans to fight climate change.
Phoenix City Councilmember Yassamin Ansari introduced herself as “first and foremost” a climate advocate and said the city plans to commit up to $150 million to purchase electric buses, but needs support from the federal government.
Although the climate action movement has been known for its youth activism, Saturday's rally was noticeable for its age diversity.
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