Cross-country marchers urged Quad-Citians to take action on climate change during a rally Sunday afternoon in LeClaire Park, Davenport.
Walkers on the Great March for Climate Action started March 1 in Los Angeles and should reach Washington, D.C., by Nov. 1. They were greeted with applause while they walked or bicycled into the park and gathered with local activists in the welcome shade of trees near the Mississippi River as temperatures reached a high of 93 in Davenport.
Quad-Citian Olivia Dorothy, of American Rivers, spoke as a representative of the Sierra Club, whose local members are among those hosting the walkers “so they can bring the message to the communities where we live and work,” Dorothy said.
Another supporter was Laura Anderson, of Clinton, a member of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Quad-Cities, Davenport.
“Unitarians have a deep regard for all forces of life and nature,” she said. “It’s imperative, we believe, to take good care of the planet.”
The Rev. Jay Wolin, of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation, asked those attending “to come together in the spirit of prayer…. We are one with the universe. If we harm it, we harm ourselves. Let us walk gently upon the earth.”
At the podium, Bill Sherwood, of Progressive Action for the Common Good, said walkers will appear Monday at local schools. Sherwood, a retired Davenport teacher and current school board member, is part of the new Sustainable Environment Methods and Technology Advisory Commission. The group’s members were appointed by Davenport Mayor Bill Gluba, who also spoke. The group met Thursday for the first time.
“The clock is ticking on climate change,” Gluba said.
Walker Rod Leman, a mechanical engineer from Denver, is visiting Iowa for the first time. “Words haven’t seemed to be that effective” in getting the message out, he said. “Action — maybe that’ll have more of an impact.
“We need to quit burning stuff. Now,” he said. Burning fossil fuels releases carbon dioxide into the air, he said, and contributes to climate change.
Likewise, said Jeffrey Czerwiec of Des Moines, “We have to really get the message out that action is needed.” People recognize the sacrifice that the walkers are making, he said.
“We’ve been hearing from the locals that they’re noting more and more extreme weather,” he said. “People are noticing. It’s been encouraging that people are seeing it.”