What do they want? Climate policy change! When do they want it? Hopefully by 2050, if legislation allows.
Outside the Orlando City Hall, protesters gathered to participate in the global climate strike on Sept. 20. Through scorching sun, humidity and fits of rain, activists and speakers relentlessly chanted their demands for 100-percent clean energy by 2050.
"Now is the time to demand environmental policy in response to the climate crisis," organizer and moderator Caroline Chomanics said to the assembled crowd. "The future of Florida as we know it is at risk. We will not stop until Florida becomes a leader in climate action, renewable energy and sustainability."
Check out our gallery of the best signs and most passionate protesters.
Many environmental groups collaborated to organize and support the march including The Climate Reality Project
, IDEAS For Us
and The Sunrise Movement
's Orlando branch. Though one of the demands on Chomanics' list stated 100-percent renewable energy for the state of Florida by 2050, another states a much sooner date of 2035 for the city of Orlando.
Florida state Rep. Anna Eskamani was the first speaker at the event and stressed it is "time to make Earth green again." For the second year in a row, Eskamani has filed legislation that would require Florida to be 100-percent renewable energy-based by 2050.
"We know that climate change is a defining crisis of our generation," Eskamani said. "It's our responsibility, those who have the privilege to serve, to fight for those who lost everything because of this crisis."
Eskamani listed critical reasons why we should care about renewable energy as a climate change solution, such as the need to reduce carbon emissions and switching from natural gas and coal to solar energy. We are, after all, the Sunshine State. She also called out naysayers who don't believe the goal is possible and encouraged protestors to "vote them out."
"I didn't run for office to talk about what was impossible," she said. "I ran for office to fight for what is possible."
Other speakers included Senator Linda Stewart and Caitlin Fogarty from Orlando Permaculture. They all reiterated the primary goal of getting the public to understand why we need to switch to renewable energy and why Florida's leaders should support the Green New Deal.
"The truth is like compost," Fogarty said. "If you don't spread it around, it's useless."
After about two hours of unified outcries, protestors marched over to Lake Eola where "the party will keep going" at 5 p.m.
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