Thousands march in Madison on Earth Day

The Wisconsin Gazette

Thousands of Wisconsinites marched April 22 from the state Capitol to Madison Gas & Electric for the Madison Climate March.

With a message of “Jobs, Justice, Climate.” the grassroots organizers of the march led a call on MGE to be an ally on climate action by investing more boldly in clean energy while divesting from dirty fossil fuels.

With climate and justice leadership unlikely from government officials at the state and federal level, the Madison Climate March called for strong local leadership to address the need for good jobs that are healthy for the people and for the planet.

The marchers’ demands echoed global calls for real solutions to a climate crisis rooted in racial, social and economic injustice, said a news release from the organizers.

Brandi Grayson, racial justice activist and Madison Climate March speaker, stated, “Climate change is no longer a question of if or when; glaciers are melting, tides are rising, and the United States is transitioning to an openly white supremacist administration with an Environmental Protection Agency headed by a man who rejects basic science . If we’re going to protect the sacred and prepare for the worst, we must look at the environmental effects of white supremacy.”

“The union movement as a whole supports the movement against climate change — but we cannot allow our common enemy to divide us, which means that our success cannot be at the expense of working people,” added David Newby, president emeritus of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO and Madison Climate March speaker.

MGE shareholder and Madison Climate March speaker Beth Esser stated, “As MGE shareholders, we know that clean energy is good for the planet and for our pocketbook. The time is now for MGE to go 100 percent coal free.”

March organizers emphasized that MGE needs to address the need for energy produced by resources that are clean and without the damaging impacts to the environment and people.

The excavation, transport and burning of fossil fuels has serious and long-standing negative impacts on public health, local communities, ecosystems, and the global climate.

As utilities commit to renewable energy across the country, localized clean energy jobs, affordable electric bills and lessened health and justice impacts from extractive industries are accompanying those transitions.

“Today’s march highlights the ways that climate, economic, and racial justice intersect, and that our climate advocacy needs to address all the systems that result in oppression and destruction. Today’s powerful display of public will demonstrates that the time is now to safeguard our health, our communities and our planet, and that we need to be in this together,” said Sierra Club’s Elizabeth Katt Reinders .