Iowa City Global Climate Strike march demands climate action

The Global Climate Strike took place in Iowa City, with protesters asking for the closure of the UI’s coal-fired power plant and 100 percent clean energy by 2030.


Reba Zatz

University of Iowa faculty march for climate change awareness on Washington Ave. The Iowa City Climate Strike march was one of hundreds taking place around the world on Friday, Sept. 20.

Rin Swann, News Reporter

Clutching signs depicting the Lorax and chanting “Stop Coal Now,” University of Iowa students and members of the Iowa City community marched on Sept. 20 in the Global Climate Strike to demand widespread climate action.

Inspired by the Fridays for Future school protests, the Global Climate Strike is aimed at supporting protesting students and pushing back against fossil fuels in support of clean energy. The strike occurred in more than 150 countries with millions of people taking to the streets in a worldwide call to action.

All ages, from young children to elderly people with walkers, marched from City Hall to the Pentacrest, holding signs stating “Tax Carbon Now,” “Make Climate Change Great Again,” and “I Love Clean Energy.” One striker even distributed “free acorns” to anyone who wanted one.

Strikers called for support from the UI in the wake of Iowa City’s passing its climate resolution. They demanded a permanent closing of the university’s coal-fired Power Plant and 100 percent renewable energy by 2030.

“It’s the biggest, most enthusiastic turnout in front of City Hall,” Iowa City Mayor Jim Throgmorton said.

RELATED: New Iowa Policy Project climate report calls policymakers to action

Members of the medical and health fields supported the strike were with professionals calling attention to the massive effect climate change has on children, including causing asthma, PTSD because of climate disasters, and generalized anxiety about the future.

In a show of camaraderie for protesting youth, 400 professionals signed an “absence excuse” to excuse protesting students from school because of the “climate health emergency.”

One of the most powerful moments of the strike occurred outside the Pentacrest, when the strikers “played dead” and lay silently for 11 minutes to represent the 11 years left to save the planet.

Politicians also sponsored or attended the event, including Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. — who sent representatives to the event — and Eddie Mauro, a Democratic candidate running for the U.S. Senate in Iowa. Mauro marched alongside the strikers, advocating for climate action.

“I have children, and I will have grandchildren one day, and it’s incumbent on us all to make sure we have built a better world for them into the future, and today we are not doing that,” Mauro said. “Today, we are worshipping the Golden Calf and not living by the Golden Rule, not taking care of the world.”

Among UI students marching in the strike was freshman Jack Fisher. An environmental major, he said he hopes for striking.

RELATED: City Council declares a state of climate crisis

“The environment is something I really care about,” he said. “Hopefully, [protests] will just open eyes to people who may not think the way we do.”

The strike was also attended by 100 Grannies, a climate advocacy group that has operated for the past nine years to fight for future generations.

“We have been fighting for eliminating fossil fuels for almost nine years all over the state and all over the country,” said Ann Christenson, one of the founders of 100 Grannies. “A number of us have been arrested at protests and pipeline protests. We’re passionate about fighting climate change and finally, finally, people seem to be catching on. I just hope it’s not too late.”

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