Thousands Brave Wind and Rain in People’s Climate March in Chicago on Saturday, 29 Apr 2017

State Street, downtown Chicago, Saturday afternoon 29 Apr 2017 (photo: Sierra Club)

#ClimateMarch #PeoplesClimateChi #ClimateMarchChi

Editor’s Note — The text below is reprinted from Sam Charles’ article “Thousands Rally in Downtown Chicago Against Climate Change” in the Chicago Sun-Times, published online 29 Apr 2017. For local coverage of the march, also see William Lee’s article, “Thousands Turn out in Chicago to Protest Trump’s Ecological Policies,” published 29 Apr 2017 in the Chicago Tribune.

Thousands of people braved miserable weather conditions Saturday afternoon to march through the downtown area, speaking out against climate change.

The march was part of a nationwide series of protests expected to number more than 300, occurring on President Donald Trump’s 100th day in office.

Marchers, who carried just as many umbrellas as signs, made their way from Federal Plaza to the south bank of the Chicago River at Wabash, just across from Trump Tower.

Jeanie Guenther, of Huntley, joined the marchers because while she takes issue with much of Trump’s agenda, the environment takes priority.

“I feel so strongly that there are so many problems right now with the Trump Administration in that we can’t sit back and say nothing,” Guenther said. “We have to make our voices heard, and especially for the environment because without the planet we have nothing.”

In recent years, as protests throughout the downtown area have become a more common sight, one of the most frequently heard chants has been, “Whose streets? Our streets!”

On Saturday, that chant was tweaked to, “Whose planet? Our planet!”

As the group marched along Wacker Drive, just across the river from Trump Tower, many began to boo the skyscraper and chant “Shame.”

Some signs read, “Our oceans are rising and so are we” and “There is no Planet B.” Many took direct jabs at the president — a frequent occurrence since his election — with one reading “Global warming is not fake news.”

Eugene Wollaston, of Naperville, said the size of the crowd, given the conditions, was encouraging.

“I’m impressed with how many people are out here in this really lousy weather,” he said. “There are a lot of committed people for change.”

In his federal budget proposed earlier this year, Trump wants to gut the budget of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. He’s also said he intended to “completely zero out” $300 million in annual funding for the Great Lakes Restorative Initiative.

Last month, Trump signed an order that initiated a review of the Clean Power Plan, which restricts greenhouse gas emissions at coal-fired power plants.

The regulation, which was President Barack Obama’s signature effort to curb carbon emissions, has been the subject of long-running legal challenges by Republican-led states and those who profit from burning oil, coal and gas.

For Anna Gifford, Saturday’s march was far from the last time she planned to speak out against climate change.

“I think it’s important to demonstrate what our feeling are regarding the environment and to hopefully, get somebody to listen,” said Gifford, also of Huntley. “I think, over time, we can’t be ignored.”

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