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Grand Rapids Earth Day March aims to inspire greater action on climate change

Downtown Grand Rapids photo
Wikimedia | Grguy2011

The Grand Rapids Climate Coalition will host an Earth Day March and discussion panel this Saturday. The goal is to add pressure on the city to take greater action on climate change for a greener future.

Organizers say both events are aimed at inspiring residents to demand that their elected officials switch to renewable energy sources as soon as possible. This includes pushing the city to become carbon neutral by 2030.

The Grand Rapids Climate coalition is one of the groups hosting the event along with the Urban Core Collective, the Community Collaboration on Climate Change, and the Creston Neighborhood Association

Abigail Sheriff is an organizer with the Grand Rapids Climate Coalition. Sheriff says low-income communities and communities of color are already experiencing the effects of climate change, making the need for action urgent.

“As an organizer what’s really important is that people feel inspired and motivated," she said. "It’s easy to tell you what we’re not doing right in the world, but how do we focus on these speakers and these organizations that are there to say 'hey we’re doing this work and we care about it, we’re out in the community' and inspire that hope and also get people to act.”

Sheriff says Saturday’s march is family friendly. She adds there will be opportunities for engagement and individuals can learn how to advocate for climate-related policies.

A panel discussion later in the day will feature State Representative Rachel Hood, meteorologist Samantha Jacques, and Darren Riley of JustAir, an air monitoring firm.

Marchers will meet at Rosa Parks Circle in Grand Rapids at 12 p.m. on April 21, and the Earth Day Panel Discussion will be held at the Books & Mortar Bookstore at 4 p.m. at 966 Cherry St. SE.