by Craig Lyons
Portland Daily Sun news story
Helyne May remembers hearing President Obama invoke Franklin Roosevelt’s quote about people asking themselves what they are going to do to accomplish goals and that was exactly what drew her and 50,000 other people to Washington, D.C., on Sunday to call for action on climate change.
More than 300 Mainers rode to Washington, D.C. late Saturday night to join thousands of people at the “Forward on Climate Change” rally. The rally was a call for President Obama to take action on climate change issues and block the Keystone XL pipeline that would reportedly run tar sands across the Midwest to the Gulf of Mexico from Canada.
“It felt like the beginning of something,” said May, of Windham.
May said the rally was a whole sea of people who all came together for the common goal of seeing the government do something to address climate change.
“It was a powerful event,” said Emmie Theberge, of the Natural Resources Council of Maine.
Maine is a state that’s vulnerable to climate change, said Theberge, and has already experienced its impacts through higher sea level rises and lower snowfalls.
Another reason that it was important for Mainers to join the rally was to further urge the state’s congressional delegation to be leaders in developing climate change policies, said Theberge. She said people are ready to see policies lessen the dependence on fossil fuels and shift toward alternative energy sources.
The effects of climate change are already being felt around the world, said May, whether that’s the sea level rise eroding at the shorelines of low-lying countries or super storms.
May said the biggest issue with climate change is the kind of planet she thinks that will be left for her kids.
“I’m concerned about the future,” May said, and what kind of world her children and their children are going to inherit.
May said thinking about the future that will be impacted by climate change was a call to action for her.
Jeanne Gulnick, of Peaks Island, said the president talked about the need for action on climate change in both his inaugural address and State of the Union and the rally was an opportunity to hold him accountable to those words.
“I hope that he acts,” she said.
Gulnick said it was an amazing group that assembled for the rally and brought people from all over the country with different backgrounds. She said it was a great feeling standing with all of those people.
“It left me hopeful,” she said.
Gulnick said she hopes the event was enough to get the country to take active steps to deal with climate change.
Theberge said the rally when right past the White House and in front of the Capitol, so she’s sure that someone heard what people want to see the country do about climate change.
“I don’t see how Washington couldn’t have gotten the message,” she said.