Pittsburgh 350, a climate activist group, marched along the Allegheny River this weekend.
On Sunday, Pittsburgh 350, a local chapter of the climate-activist group 350.org and which is supported by numerous other groups, led a Climate Action Rally at Allegheny Commons East Park.
Concerned Western Pennsylvanians gathered to air grievances over dirty air, to preach against oil over the sound of a bomb train — the name given to trains carrying crude oil at risk of derailing — on the nearby track, and to caution about climate change as the crowd baked under a hot Pittsburgh summer sun.
“This is the most important issue of this century” said Thom Crown of Lawrenceville. “Well, actually, it’s the most important issue of the last century … but now the conversation is beginning to change and things may actually happen.”
Crown came to the event with his wife JoAnne Buchanan and 15-year-old granddaughter Hope. Crown and Buchanan are members of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy organization.
“I just wish I had seen more younger people,” Buchanan said. “That generation is the one that is going to be stuck with this. We’re really at a critical point."
Attendees ranged from the neighbors of industrial sites in Pittsburgh to homeowners from Greensburg who fear they’re brewing their morning coffee with frack water.
The event was attended by “around 200 throughout the day” estimated Peter Wray, a member of Pittsburgh 350’s steering committee.
“Our next goal is to get the word out to a much broader populace,” Wray said by phone on Monday.
Mayor Bill Peduto opened the event with remarks, calling for his electorate to push Pittsburgh into being a model for environmental change.
"We have to decide locally whether we take up [clean energy initiatives] and become a model for other cities to follow and show that it can work or if we decide to be left behind in the 21st century and simply become irrelevant," Peduto said.
Video by Aaron Warnick
City Councilor Dan Gilman followed Peduto’s speech to read a proclamation that made June 21 “Climate Action Day” in Pittsburgh.
“These challenges start with very local efforts,” Councilor Dan Gilman said before reading the proclamation. “This is a truly global effort.”