Earth Day: a global and local celebration

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“There is no PLANet B,” “Don’t be FUELish” and “Science not Silence” were just some of the posters found at the Madison Climate March and the March for Science. Globally and locally, many nature enthusiasts and environmental advocates gathered to celebrate Earth Day, encourage green living and protest environmental issues.

On Saturday, April 22, in honor of Earth Day, the Climate March in Madison marched for jobs, justice and the climate. It called for green jobs, effective local leaders and solutions to climate change while promoting racial, social and economic justice.

Before the march itself, several leaders spoke, such as Beth Esser, MGE Shareholder’s for Clean Energy, and Jessie Brown, DAPL Water Protector, to rally up the crowd. Then, participants walked from the Capitol building to the Madison Gas and Electric (MGE) local utility with punny signs and loud cheers in protest of their large contribution to climate change

In fact, 88 percent of their electricity comes from fossil fuels (68 percent coal, 20 percent gas). The march aimed to encourage the utility to become a cleaner energy leader for Wisconsin and the Midwest.

“Climate change is a growing issue and I wanted to meet others who felt it was just as important to protest against it,” Alyssa Bokotey, junior and march attendee, said.

However, the movement stretched farther than just our community. The Madison march was a sister march to the People’s Climate March in Washington D.C that will occur on April 29. The march, signifying  the 100th day of Trump’s administration, will encourage protesting against wrongful treatment of people, communities and the planet.

It will begin at the United States Capitol Building, march to the White House to oppose Trump’s agenda and proposed 31 percent budget cut and new leadership in the EPA and Department of Energy, and end at the Washington Monument with music, speakers and art.

In addition to the Climate Marches, the March for Science also occurred on Earth Day across the globe, celebrating the importance of science and research. It aimed to raise awareness about the recent rise of discrediting scientific facts and restricting research.

This march acted as a non-partisan event seeking to restore appreciation for science, encourage the use of science in policy and share scientific discovery. The locations of the marches reached all over the world with 610 satellites and counting. These locations included Milwaukee, Chicago, Paris, Hong Kong and Washington D.C. (which featured an appearance of Bill Nye “The Science Guy.”)

“It was truly amazing to see how many people recognize and support the importance of science in our world. I’m really glad I was able to be a part of such a crucial cause,” Kristina Smeshko, senior and Chicago march participant said.

Locally, in the Mequon community, Interact Club honored Earth Day by spending the morning removing teasel stocks from the corners of Friedstadt and Fieldwood roads and burning them.

The invasive species of teasel is prevalent in Mequon-Thiensville and depletes land nutrients, crowds out native plants, disrupts ecosystems and destroys food and habitats for birds and wildlife. Teasel generally begins to grow in July, so the club aimed to remove the teasel stocks before seed production occurs.

“With everyone’s help, the project was a success and the teasel on that open space has been cleared for this year,” Serena Zacharias, senior and co-president of Interact Club said.

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