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Hundreds Protest Climate Change in Long Beach

13 Oct

Protesters along Ocean Boulevard chanting with their signs on the Bluff in Bixby Park in Long Beach, on Friday, Sept. 27, as part of the Global Climate Strike; photo by Barry Saks

About two hundred people gathered in Long Beach on the bluff in Bixby Park, on Friday, Sept.27, as part of what was dubbed the “Global Climate Strike,” which was inspired by the 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg.

Local groups, such as the Long Beach Environmental Alliance, the Long Beach Chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA-LB) and the Long Beach-South Bay Chapter of the Citizens Climate Lobby had set up their tables and displays.

The organizers, many of whom were members of DSA-LB, had planned the program consisting of what were called “grief circles,” followed with speakers. While some people participated in the circles, more instead chose to stand, on the south side of Ocean Boulevard with their signs facing toward the automobiles stopped at a traffic signal on Junipero Avenue, and chant.

They chanted: “No more coal, no more oil, keep your carbon in the soil;” “Hey, hey, ho, ho, fossil fuels have got to go;” “Wake up and hear the warning, let’s stop this global warming;” and “Climate Change is not a lie; do not let our planet die.” They also chanted using call and response. Someone would call out: “When our planet is under attack, what do we do?” and then the crowd would shout: “Stand up fight back.” Another was “What do we want? Climate Justice.”

Among the chanting crowd was Long Beach Second District Councilwoman Jeannine Pearce, who biked to the event.

Videographer Marlene Alvarado and Long Beach 2nd District Councilwoman Jeannine Pearce, on Friday, Sept. 27, pose on the Bluff at Bixby Park in Long Beach at the Global Climate Strike; photo by Barry Saks.

After chanting, the crowd formed in a semicircle on the grass and heard speakers.

Protesters, on the Bluff in Bixby Park in Long Beach, on Friday, Sept. 27, stand in a semicircle to hear speakers as part of the Global Climate Strike; photo by Barry Saks

A letter from the California Faculty Association at CSULB (California State University Long Beach) was read.  It expressed the union’s solidarity with the event and that Long Beach needs “a stronger Climate Action and Adaptation Plan.”

Alvin Engo, a graduate Cabrillo High School and a freshman at California State University Long Beach, said he was “tired of kids getting asthma” and “the fear of old people suffering from respiratory incidences.”  Engo, who is also the First Vice President of the Young Democratic Socialists of America Chapter at CSULB, added, “Corporate interests have completely taken over the (city) council and left the west side for dead.”

Hayli Antoniewicz, representing Students for Quality Education, speaks to crowd, on Sept. 27, as part of the Global Climate Strike; photo by Barry Saks.

Hayli Antoniewicz, 20, representing Students for Quality Education at CSULB, said, “I want politicians to stop sitting on their asses and denying Climate Change…The earth, our home, is dying.  Many people have already died due to the extreme weather conditions of our changing earth.  The rising temperatures reduce the quantity of our agriculture, putting heat stress on animals, rising sea temperatures harms the ocean’s fish and killing off our natural food.  The lack of rain fall causes mass droughts.”

DSA-LB member, Miles Haisley, started with a minute of silence for those who have been killed resisting fossil fuel extraction.  Haisley said, “We should all be very angry because there has been 50 years of inaction.  There are rising CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions.  There’s species extinction, killer heat waves on the and at sea, stronger storms and fires, rising sea levels, political and economic misleadership.  We should all be angry because the window to significantly reduce the destruction of human civilization, as life on earth is closing…We have to ban together as a community and direct our anger to seize control of our lives and the life of earth, the habitability of earth.  We must direct our anger at the obscenely rich.”

DSA-LB member J Welsh, who emceed, after the event, said, it was important for people to understand we need to grieve the losses that have already occurred.

Barry Saks is an ecosocialist and is married to videographer Marlene Alvarado.