Climate Change "Funeral" Planned In Portage

Nov 27, 2019

A protester is seen during the Extinction Rebellion demonstration in London, on Tuesday, October 8, 2019
Credit Frank Augstein / AP Photo

Climate change activists will be wearing black on "Black Friday" in Portage. The group Extinction Rebellion Kalamazoo says it will hold a one-mile funeral march on the biggest shopping day of the year.

Western Michigan University English professor Allen Webb is one of the event's organizers. Webb says the event will show people who see it that the world faces a stark choice.

"Unless we reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we will be facing a global catastrophe that will include the extinction of many, many species of animals and will threaten human life, likely leading to the deaths of hundreds-of-millions, even billions of people."

Webb says it doesn't help that President Donald Trump is pulling the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Change Accord. He points to a recent report by the United Nations Environment program that says greenhouse gas emissions have risen 1.5-percent every year since 2009. Webb also says the Trump administration has taken other steps, like trying to weaken vehicle emission rules, that go in the wrong direction.

The march on Friday, November 29, starts at 10:30 a.m. in front of the Kohl's department store in Southland Mall on South Westnedge Avenue. From there the marchers will head to Crossroads Mall. It's part of the worldwide "Fridays for Future" climate protest movement.

Webb says government officials bear much of the responsibility for dealing with climate change. But he says holiday shoppers should also think about how their choices may hurt the environment.

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