Campus / Community / News / May 3, 2017

Galesburg marches for climate change


Professor of English Emily Anderson holds an umbrella for Visiting Assistant Professor of English Valerie Billing, who read a poem about climate change at the Galesburg Climate March on Saturday, April 29. (Erika Riley/TKS)

Through the rain and bitter wind Saturday afternoon, a group of around 28 Galesburg citizens, Knox students and faculty marched through downtown Galesburg in solidarity with the national People’s Climate March in Washington D.C.

The local and national march intended to support efforts to protect the Environmental Protection Agency and develop a green economy. The Galesburg march was spearheaded by March On: Knox County Indivisible group members Professor of English Emily Anderson, Visiting Assistant Professor of English Valerie Billing and Associate Dean of the College Lori Schroeder. The group is not affiliated with Knox College and the faculty organizers are acting in it as private citizens.

Members of the Galesburg community march through downtown at the Galesburg Climate March. (Erika Riley/TKS)

“[Climate change] puts various aspect of our health and our future at risk. It’s not something that is an opinion, it’s a fact. It’s sort of maddening to have policy changes made at the shrug of his [Trump’s] shoulder,” Schroeder said. “We teach this stuff in schools and for the administration to act like it’s a matter of jobs and business is sort of ignoring the bigger issue.”

Along with the local march, there was a national march held in Washington, D.C., and over 300 satellite marches across the country that were organized by other indivisible groups, such as the Sierra Club and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. According to the Knox County Indivisible Facebook page, the main goal for the march was to promote advanced solutions to climate crises rooted in racial, social and economic justice, protect the right to clean air, water and land and fund investments in the environment to transition to a new clean and renewable energy economy.

“We wanted to plan a local climate march because it focuses on climate in terms of the environment, but also in terms of social and economic issues and the ways in which environmental racism makes it harder for people to get jobs in more diverse communities,” Anderson said. “It is particularly relevant here because our larger community is based on agriculture and industries that support agriculture.”

Before the march, Anderson, Billing and Walter McAllister, owner of Q’s Cafe, spoke on the issues of climate change and the effect it has on the environment on the courthouse lawn. McAllister also called upon Galesburg citizens to voice their concerns to the local government.

Associate Dean of the College Lori Schroeder leads the march with a broken umbrella. (Erika Riley/TKS)

“Now is the time to locally go for the change that we all want globally. Right now the powers that be in this town will have you believe that our goals are impossible. That renewable energy is infeasible, solar power is too expensive, alternative energies are not effective, green spaces are not important — they are lying to us,” McAllister said. “We know they are lying, because we are seeing it work in other communities that are in the same situation we are in. They’re getting away with it, and they will continue to get away with it if we don’t stay informed. That is why we must fight.”

After the rally, the group of protesters marched downtown through the rain, wind and cold, past Innkeepers and through the roundabout, ending at the gazebo in Standish Park. Snacks were available and protesters were provided the opportunity to voice their opinions and concerns regarding the environment.

One family, Mindy Knapp and her daughter, traveled to Galesburg from Avon, Ill. just to have the chance to participate in the march.

“We want clean water and clean air,” Knapp said. “We don’t want to have to move to Mars.”

Sierra Henry, Co-News Editor on Email
Sierra Henry, Co-News Editor
Sierra Henry is a senior Political Science major who is minoring in journalism. During her time at Knox she has had her work published in the Robinson Daily News, the Galesburg-Register Mail and Cellar Door. In the summer of 2017 she studied abroad in Bologna, Italy where she worked as a student foreign correspondent.

Tags:  climate march indivisible march People's Climate March social activism

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1 Comment

May 04, 2017

From the Register Mail’s article covering the event:

Katherine Adelsberger, professor of earth science at Knox College, spoke to open the rally, a microphone in one hand and an umbrella in the other. Despite wind and rain, she spoke of global climate change.

“We know it’s real because we have the records,” she said. “We see the glaciers melting, we see that the permafrost is melting and the sea levels are rising.”

Adelsberger continued, “We know it’s man-made because we have this neat thing called science. We measure everything.”

She added, “There are more jobs in this country in solar power than in all the fossil fuels combined. Trump can’t undo that.

“We as citizens can make our voices heard,” she finished.

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