About 150 protesters stood on the sidewalk outside Fred Meyer on Northwest Garden Valley Boulevard on Friday to call for action on climate change. Climate strikes were being held around the country the same day.
Many carried signs to convey their message. Jim Fasig of Roseburg bore a sign with a picture of an iceberg sculpted with the president’s face. It said “No one is safe from Global Warming. What’s the solution? Stop pollution.”
His wife Ann Fasig carried a sign saying “The Oceans are Rising and So Are We, Against Global Warming.”
Ann Fasig said it felt good to bring publicity to the problem.
“If we don’t do something, it’s going to be all over. It’s so sad,” she said.
Sam Cohan, a Roseburg seventh grader, is more mad than sad and wants adults to stop burning fossil fuels.
“It’s going to affect my generation more than any other. It sucks,” Sam said.
Nearly everyone at the local event was an adult, unlike the youth-led strikes happening in many cities Friday. But the adults still had a lot to say.
Kate Bright of Sutherlin said she doesn’t usually participate in protests like this one.
“I’m not normally a joiner, but I feel passionate about saving our earth. I feel like this is something worth doing,” Bright said.
She thought the turnout Friday was pretty good.
“I wish it were bigger, of course. I wish half of Roseburg were here, but this is pretty good. It’s a good start,” she said.
Carl Dunlap of Azalea said he had a message for politicians.
“The people that vote are paying attention to what the youth are leading us forward with. It’s a very important problem, and there’s just too many people in power that are climate deniers,” Dunlap said.
He said Texas floods and other events show that climate change is increasingly a problem.
Bob Allen of Roseburg said he just finished reading a book called ‘The Uninhabitable Earth,’ and it was frightening. Miserable decades could lie ahead for humans and they might not survive, he said.
“I’ve got grandkids. I see what they’re dealing with and what they’re thinking about. They’re on the streets today in Portland. What are they going to face? And they’ll say what did we do?” he said.
Stuart Liebowitz of the Douglas County Global Warming Coalition, which helped organize Friday’s protest, said climate change is the issue of our time.
“There are millions of people across the globe as well as the United States who understand that we have a very limited time to turn this around. Science tells us we have about 11 years to avoid a climate catastrophe and with the wildfires growing hotter here in Oregon, we are experiencing climate change in our own backyard,” he said.
“So we are here to show solidarity with everybody around the world who understand now’s the time to take action,” he said.
Other groups joining in the protest included Umpqua Watersheds, the League of Women Voters of Umpqua Valley, Indivisible Roseburg and Veterans for Peace.
Virginia Roth, with Indivisible Roseburg, said the country is going down the tubes and she wants it fixed.
“We’re out here for change, and to stop what’s going on in our government so we could have change. ‘Cause too many people are burying their heads like ostriches,” she said.
She said she feels like crying when she thinks about the impact climate change could have on her children and grandchildren.
“We won’t be here forever, but they have their young lives to live and we want them to have as good a climate as we had when we were growing up as kids,” she said.
League of Women Voters of Umpqua Valley President Jenny Carloni said in a written statement that the League is calling on people to “inform themselves and vote in support of candidates and policies that will replace fossil fuel subsidies with investment in alternative energy, research, and training for jobs in the carbon-neutral economy of the future.”
“The present climate crisis demands that our government take bold action, soon, to limit our nation’s CO2 emissions and help the world begin to decrease global warming,” she said.