Mid-Missouri Peaceworks held a rally and 5K walk Sunday afternoon to advocate for action on climate change both in Columbia and nationally.

The Walk for the Climate, which began with a rally at Courthouse Square at 1 p.m., featured speakers who discussed climate change, how to combat it and how to persuade others to do the same.

There was also a performance by fiddle-player and songwriter Pippa Letsky. About 50 people were in attendance. 

The speakers included Carolyn Amparan, chair of Columbia’s Climate and Environment Commission and chair of the Osage Group Sierra Club, and Philip Francica, director of programs for Renew Missouri.

Once the rally ended, attendees began a 5K walk that circled around the MU campus and ended back at Courthouse Square.

The event was co-sponsored by Osage Group Sierra Club, the League of Women Voters of Columbia and Boone County, Renew Missouri, the City of Columbia Climate and Environment Commission and the Citizens Climate Lobby of Columbia and Jefferson City.

"Climate change is an urgent priority. There's no doubt about it," said Mark Haim, director of Mid-Missouri Peaceworks. "Everybody who's paying any sort of attention at all realizes that we are in deep trouble and we need to seek significant action now."  

Haim said the demonstration was meant to draw attention to the issue and remind both local and federal government officials that it needs to be addressed.

"President Biden's rhetoric has been good; we're afraid that he's not necessarily going to follow through and move things forward to the extent that we really need," Haim said.

The event's message was not just for Biden, however. Haim and Amparan want to see the Columbia City Council commit to reaching the goal laid out in its Climate Action and Adaptation Plan of using 100% clean, renewable energy for electricity.

The City Council will make its decision in November. The first public hearing will take place Oct. 14, where advocates with Mid-Missouri Peaceworks and Osage Group Sierra Club will push for a 100% plan.

People of all ages were in attendance at the rally Sunday. Victor Myers, a retired MU librarian, said he is concerned for the future of the planet.

"The wildlife is different," he said. "We have more drought and more rain. I don't see so many species that I once did. It saddens me, really."

Myers also said he hopes to see more progress on climate action so that his family won't have to deal with the effects of climate change.

"I've got two sons and their wives, and I want them to have a happy life. I worry about them, and I worry about kids being in chaotic situations," he said.

Kate Wagoner, an MU senior majoring in education with a minor in psychology, said she came to the demonstration because she wants to be more connected to Columbia.

"I want to see my community thrive. I'm pretty close to the Columbia community. I really like it here, and I just feel like I want to do my part," she said.

Haim said he hopes the Walk for the Climate and similar events and movements will combine to make a difference in the fight against climate change.

"What we're trying to demonstrate by our presence is our commitment to this issue," he said. "We won't go away. We've been making noise around this issue for decades now, and it's reaching a point where everyone is recognizing it."

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  • Community and Special Sections Reporter, fall 2021 Studying Digital and Print Media and minoring in Spanish and Black Studies Get in touch with me at kshannon@mail.missouri.edu or in the newsroom at 882-5700

  • Assistant city editor, fall 2021. Former state government reporter, second-year graduate student studying public policy journalism. You can reach me at mossolinski@mail.missouri.edu, or in the newsroom at 882-5720.

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