Environment

It’s a busy month to be an environmental activist. Galvanized by President Donald Trump’s choice of cabinet members who reject the scientific consensus that the earth’s climate is changing — and that humans are contributing — national groups have planned several public demonstrations.

But this year presented a few scheduling conflicts for Louisville’s environmental community.

The rest of the country held marches last Saturday — Earth Day — to support science and scientific inquiry. But here, Thunder Over Louisville meant that synergy was impossible downtown (though an Earth Walk was held in Iroquois Park). So, activists held a similar march last Sunday.

And this upcoming weekend, while around the country environmentally-minded folks will be marching in support of climate change action on Trump’s 100th day in office, in Louisville it’s the Derby Festival Marathon.

“There are no permits to be had on that day,” said Drew Foley, co-chair of the Greater Louisville Sierra Club.

So instead, the Sierra Club, Louisville Climate Action, 350 Louisville and others combined the city’s marches for one event last weekend. And the local groups are sending a contingent of about a hundred people to Washington, D.C. on Saturday to join the big national march.

Climate change, caused by rising levels of carbon dioxide from human activity, is having diverse effects around the country. In Louisville, scientists say the most obvious signs are rising temperatures and more intense rainfall. These, in turn can lead to flooding, drought and increased air pollution.

Sally Craven is the vice president of the Louisville Climate Action Network. She’s going to the march in Washington, too.

“We are out of time for dragging our heels and being wishy-washy about it,” Craven said. “We need to honor the agreement we made in Paris, we need to get serious about reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. And the time is now.”

The march is about more than just climate, Foley said. There are issues of economic equality and environmental justice woven into the concept as well.

“It’s technically called a ‘march for climate, jobs and justice,’” he said. “It’s really hard to fight for one thing without the other. Our fight for protecting the climate has to be rooted in those issues as well.”

Buses will leave Louisville for Washington, D.C. on Friday evening. There’s more information here.

Erica Peterson reports on energy and the environment for WFPL. She is also Enterprise Editor.