Tri-Cities community gathers for climate change, discusses from a faith perspective

People's Climate Festival hosted at John Dam Plaza

RICHLAND, Wash. - On April 29, members of the Tri-Cities community gathered at John Dam Plaza to talk about what climate change means for the local community.

Throughout the day, attendees listened to speakers talk about their commitment to positive climate action.

Jessie Dye, Program and Outreach Director of Earth Ministry in Seattle, was the first speaker. She spoke on climate change from a faith perspective.

"The message that I wanted people here to know is that when we talk about the faith community supporting concern for creation, we're talking about our Evangelical friends, we're talking about our Catholic relatives, we're talking about our Protestant, Lutheran, Episcopalian, Baptist, Methodist brothers and sisters, we're talking about our Muslim co-workers. All of us in our faith traditions support caring for creation and protecting Earth's ecosystems," said Dye. "We believe that God created the world, and as such it's a gift to us."

She said although it is not talked about a lot in church, she feels the wellbeing of the Earth is the responsibility of humans.

"We're called to justice to the poor, to the least of those, to the most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters. And no one is affected more by climate change than the poorest people of the Earth," said Dye.

Speakers also included Dr. Rick Smith, Associate Professor of Environmental Science and Columbia Basin College, Dr. Amy Persons with the Benton-Franklin Humane Society and Dr. Richard Badalamente, a retired senior scientist at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

"The things we need to do to help our climate are the same things that we can be doing to help our own health," said Dr. Persons.

"Climate change is the greatest threat that we face as a species," said Dye. "The catastrophe of climate change is one that is a moral issue."

In Washington D.C. tens of thousands of people marched to show their support for positive climate action.

The rally was a response to the Trump Administration's rollback of Obama-era climate initiatives and proposed budget cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency.

The festival in Richland was one of hundreds of sister marches to the main march in Washington D.C.

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