TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Hundreds packed Gaslight Park in Tampa on Saturday to raise awareness about climate change and its effects on the environment, and push for officials to do something about it.
They joined thousands of others not only in sister marches throughout Florida, but in conjunction with the main march in our nation’s capital.
Hundreds came armed with signs, posters, and banners with a message that climate change, they say, is real and cannot be ignored.
“To make sure that people are aware that climate change is real and that we want to do something about it,” Kelly Brennan said as she stood in the near-record heat.
Experts say the Tampa Bay area is one of the most vulnerable places in the world when it comes to climate change.
“We’re concerned about flood insurance,” Robert Murphy of Tarpon Springs said. “We’re concerned about sea level rise. We’re concerned about each summer is hotter than the last.”
“If sea level rise is going to be as bad as they see in the next 50 years, millions of people are going to be displaced and it will be a total disaster,” Robert Jordan of Tampa told News Channel 8.
Dubbed the People’s Climate March, the event coincides with President Trump’s first 100 days in office.
Many at the event called the Trump administration’s moves catastrophic for the environment.
“I see no indication that he’s concerned about climate change,” Murphy said. “He says that it’s a hoax. He expresses no interest in environmental justice.”
The Trump administration is now considering sweeping budget cuts that would threaten environmental protections nationwide.
“It’s more about money, making money, making a profit over the climate,” Kelly Brennan of St. Petersburg told News Channel 8.
Now, there’s a call for city officials in Tampa to commit to using 100 percent clean and renewable energy.
Organizers say the city of St. Petersburg, along with the Sierra Club, have agreed to achieve 100 percent clean energy by the year 2030. Their next goal, they say, is the city of Tampa.
They also tell News Channel 8 the march comes just days after a state senate committee approved a controversial measure that would allow utility companies to use ratepayer dollars to invest in out-of-state oil and gas companies as the legislature refused to hear a bill that would ban fracking in Florida.
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