Environmental and faith groups are coming together to advocate for an end to fossil fuels, and the resulting pollution that disproportionately affects poor and minority communities. The groups held a march and a rally Thursday in Louisville.
The event was held in conjunction with the Unitarian Universalist General Assembly, which was in town this week. Local environmental groups joined in too, and brought in buses of people from around the state.
Marchers held signs: “Coal is poisoning our communities” and “Kentucky’s faith communities love mountains,” They marched five blocks to the Belvedere, chanting—“hey, hey, ho, ho, fossil fuels have got to go.”
At the rally, people crowded the riverfront. Baking in the late afternoon sun, they heard from people who are affected by pollution from fossil fuel, from Rubbertown to West Virginia.
Kathy Little lives near the Cane Run Power Plant in southwest Louisville. She spoke at the rally, telling the crowd about the problems her community has with coal ash leaving the plant. Louisville Gas and Electric is scheduled to transition the plant to natural gas by 2016, but Little says she doesn’t see that as a viable solution.
“I know that just moves the problem elsewhere,” she said. “That just moves the stress and the misery to someone else’s children and grandchildren. They will be poisoned, and it is not fair.”
Then, poet, farmer and activist Wendell Berry stood up to read his poem, Questionnaire.
“State briefly the ideas, ideals or hopes, the energy sources, the kinds of security for which you would kill a child,” he read. “Name, please, the children whom you would be willing to kill.”
The groups are urging a swift transition to renewable energy.