At Atlanta rally, activists call for national climate action

Attendees at a climate rally in Atlanta on Saturday gathered for a group photo. The event was part of a group of rallies around the country to urge Congress and President Biden to pass climate legislation. (Molly Samuel/WABE)

Activists around the country rallied this weekend to urge the federal government to pass climate legislation. Environmental, labor and social justice groups led the coordinated push with events in multiple cities ahead of Congress returning from recess.

In Atlanta, a couple hundred people gathered in Liberty Plaza across from the state Capitol on Saturday to hear speakers and learn more about how they could get involved in climate activism.

“Just trying to do what I can, or see what I can do,” said Madison Myers, a Kennesaw State University student.

He said it’s scary to think about what might happen in his lifetime. “I’m 22 and I’ll probably live to like 80.”

UGA student Layla Renee Contreras said she attended because she wants politicians to see that people care about climate change.

“They should do their jobs to really fight for humans,” she said. “Doesn’t matter what ethnicity, where you come from, background. The world is ours. We need to protect it.”

Precious George said to channel her fear about climate change, she has been getting more involved in activism. “It highly effects low-income and people of color. That’s the community I’m a part of, she said. (Molly Samuel/WABE)

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens told the crowd that he sees how climate change affects people’s day-to-day lives and health. He said he’d get the city on track with its climate commitments.

Atlanta recently joined a few other local Georgia governments to intervene in the state regulatory process that governs how Georgia Power generates electricity. The utility has proposed phasing out coal power completely, though it does plan to continue using natural gas.

“The decisions of our elected officials, the actions of our industries have effects on the world,” Andres Parra said during his remarks at the rally. Parra, a community organizer with the Latino political group, GALEO Impact Fund, said he wants to see the United States be a leader on climate. 

“Climate justice demands us to address unjust systems that will only be exacerbated,” he said.

Reverend Gerald Durley, who was involved in the Civil Rights Movement, encouraged attendees not to get discouraged.

“I believe we are in a winnable war. This is an ethical and moral war,” he said. “Let ‘em hear you in Washington D.C. President Biden, Biden ⁠— pass the law, we’re coming.”

In the back, near the tables with snacks and places to get more information, was a spot for people to make sure they’re registered to vote.