‘To change everything, we need everyone’; group marches in climate change demonstration on Telegraph

A group of more than 40 participants gather at Nisson Park for the "People's Climate Movement" demonstration held on Telegraph Street in Washington City Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

WASHINGTON CITY — Nearly 50 individuals took part in a demonstration along Telegraph Street Saturday morning as part of a national grassroots movement involving tens of thousands of people assembled in cities and towns across the country to demand action on “climate, jobs and justice.”

Posters are set up at a staging area at Nisson Park for the “People’s Climate Movement” demonstration held on Telegraph Street in Washington City Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

“Climate change is real, and we need to address it while we still have the chance,” event participant Mark Chambers said.

The demonstration started at 9 a.m. at Nisson Park, 30 S. 200 West, in Washington City, part of the “People’s Climate Movement” which mobilized massive numbers of people who hit the street all over the nation Saturday.

The large group marched south on Telegraph Street and demonstrated at various intersections while a number of motorists honked their horns in support of the cause.

“We are here to call attention to our local governments to protect against the effects of global warming by reducing the impact of emissions and fossil fuels by coming up with better solutions, such as water, solar and wind energy,” event organizer Megan Honer-Orton said.

One tenant of the People’s Climate Movement is that across the country and the world, climate change contributes to an environmental imbalance. The group says the resulting effects, such as hurricanes, wildfires and mudslides, “echo an ongoing political shift away from an empowered populace and toward a power-grabbing corporate oligarchy.”

More than 40 people arrive at Nisson Park for the “People’s Climate Movement” demonstration held on Telegraph Street in Washington City Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

Climate change, or global warming, refers to the rise in average surface temperatures on earth due primarily to the use of fossil fuels, which release carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the air, trapping heat within the atmosphere. This can have a range of effects on ecosystems, including rising sea levels, severe weather events and droughts that can leave landscapes vulnerable to wildfires.

There is broad agreement within the scientific community that climate change is real, and one particular concern mentioned several times during the demonstration related to water usage, conservation and solutions.

Even small increases in the earth’s temperature caused by climate change can have severe effects, including rising sea levels from melting polar ice caps, warming ocean temperatures associated with stronger and more frequent storms and flooding, as well as an increase in the incidence and severity of wildfires and heat waves.

Demonstrator Collin Weiss said everyone living in Southern Utah should realize they are living in a desert and accept that fact by adapting vegetation and landscaping to coexist in a desert environment. He said this would support conservation efforts, as opposed to changing the desert into a lush, green terrain that requires an exorbitant amount of water to develop and maintain.

“Sooner or later, we are going to have to accept the fact that the planet is getting warmer, and we have caused that,” Weiss said. “Every person in St. George uses 364 gallons of water every day – we have to change something here.”

A crowd of participants demonstrate on Telegraph during the “People’s Climate Movement” demonstration held in Washington City Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

Some believe that piping in more water will fix the problem, but that’s unrealistic, he said. Rather, conservation is key to fixing the problem.

“We are at a crucial point right now, with the growth in population and so on,” Weiss said. “We aren’t going to have enough water here, regardless of where it is piped in from, to sustain the amount of water that is currently being used.”

Climate Movement participant Robert E. Ford said the Washington County Water Conservancy District covers a large portion of the county but it doesn’t cover various sections of smaller towns, such as Leeds, Enterprise, Rockville and other areas, while the property taxes paid by those residents still pay for the district’s operations.

Additionally, the amount of water that is funneled into Southern Utah is misrepresented, Ford said, showing a much greater amount than what is actually available. He said the increase in monsoon rains provide water, but it evaporates quickly and is subject to runoff, while the decrease in seasonal rains is particularly concerning.

“It spells disaster,” Ford said.

Moreover, the amount of water used in Washington County is significantly higher compared to other desert areas, such as Tucson or Las Vegas, which are located in hotter climates. Concerns include the large development projects taking place all over the county, which will strain water resources until the growth is unsustainable.

Other effects of climate change relate to the increase in the number and size of recent wildland fires, which are increasing in severity and in the number of acres burned.

“What’s happening here is that our fire seasons are starting sooner, are lasting longer and are much more devastating,” Weiss said.

A participant walks across Telegraph street holding a sign referring to climate change during the “People’s Climate Movement” demonstration held on Telegraph Street in Washington City Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

Another issue that was brought up concerns “fracking,” which is a term commonly used for hydraulic fracturing – a drilling technique that has been used since the 1940s for extracting oil or natural gas from deep underground by pumping fluid down through the rocks at extremely high pressure.

Proponents of fracking claim that the drilling technique is a safe and clean method of extracting sources of natural gas from the earth. Those opposed to the practice are concerned that it causes air and water pollution and increases the potential for oil spills and other environmental disasters.

“I’m concerned about our federal lands, that they will be sold for drilling and fracking, but we need to preserve what we have here,” Chambers, who is also running for the Utah State Senate, said.

The federal government owns nearly 65 percent, or just over 34 million acres, of the nearly 53 million acres of land in Utah. This is significantly higher than the overall acreage owned by the federal government nationwide, which 28 percent, or 640 million acres, of the 2.27 billion acres of land in the U.S., according to a 2017 report by the Congressional Research Service.

Climate change fast facts

  • As of 2018, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere is the highest it has been in 3 million years.
  • NASA and NOAA data show that global averages in 2016 were 1.78 degrees warmer than the mid-20th century average, and 17 of the 18 warmest years have occurred since 2000.
  • Eleven percent of all global greenhouse gas emissions caused by humans are caused by deforestation; this is comparable to the emissions from all of the cars and trucks on the planet.
  • In the Amazon, 1 percent of tree species sequester 50 percent of the region’s carbon.
  • Eleven percent of the world’s population is currently vulnerable to climate change impacts such as droughts, floods, heat waves, extreme weather events and sea level rise.

The Peoples Climate Movement found its roots in the unprecedented “Peoples Climate March,” where hundreds of thousands of individuals across the country and around the world marched in the mass mobilization in a call to action.

In 2015 the organization coordinated the “National Day of Action” that helped build the foundation of a broad-based climate movement from coast to coast. In 2017 the “100 Days Mobilization” was initiated, a three-month demonstration which brought young people, union workers, faith leaders and thousands more to the nation’s capital to demand climate, jobs and justice.

“To change everything, we need everyone,” the organization’s mission statement says.


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  • Em September 8, 2018 at 8:38 pm

    Wow! What a great job Cody! Over and above and we appreciate it! m.

  • jaltair September 8, 2018 at 9:35 pm

    I agree with you, Collin Weiss.  The way St George approaches the fact that we have been in a long drought and perods of much warmer weather is to not believe our weather patterns have changed and will continue to become more extreme.

    Conservation of water is paramount for St George’s survival and doesn’t include a pipeline.  Water restrictions and new homes with desert landscaping that are sustainable is what is needed.  At last count,  11 golf courses were in St George.  More housing is planned and to top that frosting, another development with mini lakes! 

    The city planners and money hungry  developers are wanting growth and have projected a tremendous amount of it. 

    I think more of the citizens here in the area need to demand that those in city, county, and state governance positions be better stewards of our wonderful natural resources.  Limits on the number of permits for building and developing need to be implemented, with a thorough review of resources required for such each year. 

    Slow things down.  Live within our means (resource availability).  Don’t try to make a “paradise” out of a beautiful and natural desert community.  Many of us do love our natural lands.

  • beacon September 8, 2018 at 9:53 pm

    Good to know that these folks were willing to take time from their busy lives to speak out, show up and try to make a difference for the good of all. Good for them! We should all take a lesson.

  • Striker4 September 9, 2018 at 3:52 am

    Yeah like that’s going to change anything

  • Pa Triot September 9, 2018 at 8:39 am

    Ahhhh…..some of the signs – “Truth/Facts Matter”, “Facts Don’t Lie”. Ever try to have a fact based, truthful discussion with a Liberal?

    • Happy Commenter September 9, 2018 at 9:52 am

      Their heads explode, so don’t bother!

    • Red2Blue310 September 9, 2018 at 11:19 am

      Ur kidding of course. Trumpers follow a lying agenda based in nothing but emotions and support an amoral bunch of politicians who care only about themselves

    • Red2Blue310 September 9, 2018 at 11:52 am

      Pat Riot, u have no credibility when you follow Trump who has made lying the hallmark of his presidency.

      • Happy Commenter September 9, 2018 at 1:42 pm

        Trump was never mentioned.. Got TDS?

        • iceplant September 9, 2018 at 5:37 pm

          Happy Commenter
          You seem to be quite triggered by facts and truth. Why is that? Do you have a hard time accepting reality?
          [Hint: your president is pulling the wool over your eyes]

          • Happy Commenter September 9, 2018 at 6:43 pm

            TDS? Trump was not mentioned libby!

  • Happy Commenter September 9, 2018 at 8:39 am

    Life goes on. Weather is astronomically cyclical. If demonstrating against Mother Nature floats your boat, go for it! https://medium.com/@baxleyjames/man-made-global-warming-is-a-farce-f616fb4e6ef2

    • iceplant September 9, 2018 at 5:38 pm

      Keep spewing that propaganda that they’re feeding you over at FauxNews.
      Thos of us with a brain no better by now. Your kind is on the way out.

      • Happy Commenter September 9, 2018 at 6:17 pm

        You’re the one who doesn’t know the difference between the environment and the climate, not me sparky!

      • Happy Commenter September 9, 2018 at 6:57 pm

        Iceplant, you are one disoriented vegetable, seeing stuff that isn’t there! That’s hallucinations and they have Drs for that! You should see one soon!

        • mctrialsguy September 11, 2018 at 11:10 am

          Yes, they are like clones walking in each others paths. Scary people, scary!

  • beacon September 9, 2018 at 10:20 am

    I suggest that Happy Commenter and others who think as he/she does should look into it even more just the link that’s been provided. If some want to believe that humans have not had an effect even when evidence over the past fifty years shows otherwise, they are welcome to do that. I prefer to believe that if there is ANYTHING we can do to help the situation then I will choose to do that for the sake of my children, grandchildren and even people I don’t know. To go along in a selfish manner because people don’t want to have to change their lifestyle will not help them or anyone else.

    • Happy Commenter September 9, 2018 at 12:23 pm

      There’s a big difference between saving the ENVIRONMENT and believing you can change the NATURAL cycle of the climate. One is sensible and the other is fake science! AL GORE IS NOT A SCIENTIST! Never was and never will be, he’s just making money of the useful idiots. He’s a liar and a deceitful con man.
      Ed. Website link removed.

      • Striker4 September 10, 2018 at 10:04 am

        It seems you’re upset because Dr Gore has made a better living than you ….go out and do something constructive with your time

    • Happy Commenter September 9, 2018 at 2:43 pm

      It’s not my problem if you believe you can stop a volcano by throwing people into it! You probably also believe a law will stop your car from hitting somebody in a crosswalk..

      • bikeandfish September 9, 2018 at 8:35 pm

        Wait, how did Al Gore get into a volcano, John?

        • Happy Commenter September 10, 2018 at 2:17 am

          You really don’t get it , do you? So full of yourself! hahaha!

          • mctrialsguy September 11, 2018 at 11:08 am

            They do not get it, global warming started millions of years ago and is an even progression. What we do has no affect at all, what China’s does on a global scale may have the most affect if any @ 1/100,000,000 of 1 percent. Standing on a corner in St. George is like throwing a drop of sand in the Sahara on the dunes into the wind.

  • bikeandfish September 10, 2018 at 3:09 pm

    I guess the only remaining question is if John lost his password (new phone?) or was banned before? If it ain’t him them someone is impersonating him to the T.

  • mctrialsguy September 11, 2018 at 11:14 am

    Maybe we can take all of the Tesla batteries and hook them together and air condition the world, yeah…that’s it. Repossess all the Tesla’s, Volt’s and Prious and save the world. Were are we going to storage all those electric car batteries in the future?

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