Climate march to hit streets of Langley this weekend

Taking note of other climate marches happening around the country but wanting to add South Whidbey into the mix, Langley resident Sandy Shipley decided to take action.

Shipley, along with the help of several others in the community and the sponsorship of members of the Greening Congregation Collaboration, organized a climate march that will take place in Langley on Saturday morning. Organizers say the event is about standing up to President Donald Trump’s environmental cuts, naysayers of climate change and the fossil fuel industry’s carbon-emitting practices while advocating for a clean and safer world.

“I think there’s always somebody who will organize a march when there’s a national one,” said Shipley, who is also a member of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Whidbey Island’s social and environmental justice council. “We want to be reflected on a local level and be part of a global movement. It was just a matter of some friends getting together and saying we want to do it.”

The march is from 10-11 a.m., starting in the large parking next to Whidbey Island Children’s Theater and behind Langley Middle school. The mile-long route to follow will trace the same steps as Langley’s last notable march, the Women’s March in January, going from Sixth Street to DeBruyn Avenue, followed by First Street to Cascade Avenue.

Signs are expected to be prevalent, as well as enthusiasm on the part of participants, Shipley said.

“The only way we can make a difference is with each one of us participating in any way we can,” Shipley said.

The march will wrap up with a “shout out,” Shipley said. She wants to replicate what marchers in Washington D.C. will do the same day during the People’s Climate Movement when they shout a message to the White House. Shipley said a possible message could be, “We will choose, we will decide, we fight to turn the tide.”

Sponsoring churches of the event include the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Whidbey Island, Trinity Lutheran Church, Langley United Methodist Church, St. Augustine’s-in-The-Woods, St. Hubert Catholic Church and The Whidbey Institute.

Wendy Visconty, a 68-year-old Clinton resident and organizer of the march, said people should attend to share their views and help work toward a healthier environment.

She’s also against Trump’s potential cutbacks to the Environmental Protection Agency.

“I really want us to be able to say ‘no’ to that,” Visconty said. “…These kinds of marches bring such a nice energy of feeling that we can do something and speak our minds.”

Melissa Lebo of Langley is marching for her grandchildren.

“I feel somewhat desperate to get people to realize that this is really serious business and that change can happen way more quickly than we think,” said Lebo, who will focus on ocean acidification and the negative effects of fossil fuels.

Shipley said the march also has a focus on Whidbey Island itself. She said they will also be marching to raise awareness about declining salmon populations stemming from global warming, the protection of the shoreline and the salmon, and the honoring of Native Americans who once occupied the area.

“An island environment is so fragile that we need to protect all of what we have,” Shipley said.

There will be several family-friendly events following the march. The Langley Whale Center willbe provide information on whales and the importance of a healthy habitat, ways to help save salmon, and informational films about orcas and salmon by local filmmakers.

From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., people are invited to Libbey Beach just north of Coupeville for an informational session with the Whidbey Audubon Society and ecologists from the Department of Natural Reserve at the Smith and Minor Islands Aquatic Reserve. There will be information about birds, local ecosystems and the largest kelp forest in the state. For more information, contact Rick Baker at rickbaker17@gmail.com or at 949-726-2713.

Finally, a tour begins at 11:45 a.m. of Freeland’s wetland near the intersection of Scott and Newman Roads.

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