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Video Edited by Nicholas DePaul

“Ho ho, he he, there is no Planet B!”

These were the chants of Marist freshmen Rachel Sumner and Tatiana Vega, along with thousands of other protesters who strode down the Walkway Over the Hudson on Saturday, Apr. 29 for the People’s Climate March.

Protest 2 On President Trump’s 100th day in office, individuals marched for numerous environmental issues. These problems include the rolling-back of protections on the climate; attacks on the air, water, and land; and direct strikes on various minority populations. According to the event’s press release, “This mobilization is about bringing solutions to the table and targeting elected leaders, especially at the local and state levels, to take bold action.”

The Poughkeepsie march was one of over 300 chapters meeting within the nation as well as all over the world. Protesters of all ages gathered at the Walkway Over the Hudson around 1 p.m. with colorful signs and high spirits. Before the march began, the crowd enjoyed a People’s Climate Activist fest with live music, information booths set up by different environmental organizations, and a prayer given by Deer Clan Chief Clara of the Ramapough and Lenape tribes.

Protest 3

Sumner at the march

After these proceedings, the marchers took to the Walkway Over the Hudson. They bore signs printed with witty phrases, facts about the environment, or anti-Trump messages. Even when security kept them to only one side of the bridge, attendees marched strongly to defend their cause.

Due to the proximity of the People’s Climate chapter, many Marist students, like Vega and Sumner, were in attendance marching for environmental justice. Sumner, an environmental science major, received an email from her Environmental Ethics professor regarding the event. “If my teacher hadn’t notified me I wouldn’t have known [about it] because there wasn’t really any other local advertisement for it,” she said.

Vega decided to attend the march after Sumner informed her about it. “It was the first march that I had ever been to and I thought it was an interesting and fun experience. I went because I know it’s important to Rachel and I know that it’s important to learn more about the environment because it’s changing so much and it’s good to know what we can do to help [start] a change.”

A passion for science, the planet, and nature in general drew Sumner to attend the march. “I grew up surrounded by respect and passion for nature and animals so it’s just embedded in me. I’ve always wanted to go to a march to speak up and take part in fighting for something I really care about, so this was a perfect opportunity. Any way to raise awareness helps.”

Sumner believes that, as Trump and his administration’s environmental policies clash with the beliefs of numerous environmental activists, it’s understandable as to why there was such a heavy anti-Trump presence. “We have a president who doesn’t really care about these issues and [their] detrimental effect on the planet and a lot of people were voicing [their] importance. We need to,” she said.

Protest 1Following the march over the walkway were the  “flotilla of kayak-tivists” in the river and a rally with numerous speakers. Lecturers included Joanne Steele of the Sierra Club and local politicians like Zephyr Teachout, former Congressional candidate; Wappingers Falls Mayor Matt Alexander; and former New Paltz Town Supervisor Susan Zimet.

Sumner describes her experience at the march to be, overall, wholesome. “There were so many types of people who you could clearly see were really passionate about it. Everyone was so sweet and the atmosphere was awesome.”

Vega took the march as a learning experience, saying, “I learned that it’s important for us to come together, especially in this time with the leaders that we have.”

 

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