Think of the children. That was the message that three dozen activists emphasized Friday afternoon outside the Richard Bolling Federal Building in downtown Kansas City to bring awareness to environmental issues.
President Trump on Thursday announced his decision to pull the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement, meant to slow climate change. In response, environmental campaigners protested nationwide.
Several states and cities pledged to continue pursuing climate policies without the federal government. Government official nationwide, including Kansas City Mayor Sly James, submitted a plan to the United Nations to meet the original target for the United States’ greenhouse gas emissions.
The grassroots climate justice group 350KC organized the protest at the largest federal building in Kansas City.
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“We chose this location because it is in a part of Kansas City for both the federal workers leaving for the weekend and people downtown to hear the people of Kansas City and know that we understand what the federal government is trying to do here, and we don’t appreciate it,” 350KC coordinating member Ben Proffer said.
The group of community-based activists has been working in Kansas City as a part of the national 350 movement to motivate citizens and governments to take action on environmental issues.
The number 350 promotes the safe concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the movement’s mission to reduce it from the current level of 400 parts per million.
“I think that the minimal protections we had in place were inadequate as they were,” 350KC member Mary Benrud said. “If there is no planet, it doesn’t matter if people have jobs. I have young grandchildren who can’t swim in the lakes closest to them and who have water they can’t drink. So, you know, what future is that?”
With a national issue at hand, members of 350KC felt it was necessary to bring awareness to the Kansas City community.
“There needs to be local visibility to the fact that a majority of the public favors renewable energy and knows that global warming is a reality,” 350KC member Jim Turner said.