Hundreds rally for action on climate change

Rally for action on climate change at Idaho Statehouse

BOISE -- Hundreds of people gathered on the Idaho Statehouse steps Saturday afternoon, to urge lawmakers and their communities to act on climate change.

There's a lot of scientific evidence showing that conditions on Earth are changing. The people at Saturday's rally feel very strongly that human activity is causing those changes - through such things as carbon emissions and greenhouse gases.

"Climate change is a big deal, and it's a big deal to Idaho in particular," said State Representative Ilana Rubel (D-Boise). "It's something that threatens our way of life."

Rep. Rubel says there are things you can do in your life to reduce your own carbon footprint.

"We should all be looking at doing those, that we should be looking to act at every level we can," she added.

The Idaho Sierra Club hosted the rally, which included speakers from other environmental groups as well as Boise State University and the Episcopal Church. The effects of climate change, they say, are being felt right here, right now.

"Would you buy a Bogus Basin pass ten years from now the way we're going? Probably not," Chad Worth of the Snake River Alliance said.

Speakers also advocated transforming Boise to 100-percent clean energy, cultivating the energy boom in Idaho.

"I felt inspired," Worth said. "There's no doubt there's a massive crisis looming ahead of us, but there are so many positive things happening."

Things such as city governments and other elected officials working to bring more renewable resources like solar, wind and hydroelectric power to Idaho.

State Representative John Vander Woude (R-Nampa), a longtime farmer, says he and most of his colleagues would agree those are good things.

"As long as the sun shines and the wind blows, we can create those kinds of energies," Vander Woude said. "I don't think there's anybody in the legislature that says, hey, we don't have to do stuff to protect the environment, we don't have to do stuff to create renewable energies."

Rep. Vander Woude says he and many of his fellow lawmakers feel that government shouldn't play a big role in incentivizing green energy.

"Then you don't really create an industry that can stand on its own," he added.

There's another point on which some environmental groups and Idaho's more conservative lawmakers part ways.

"I don't think that man controls the environment near as much as a lot of people think they do," Vander Woude said. "I think we've gone through cycles of warming and cooling cycles."

At the same time, Vander Woude said he believes people do contribute to climate change some when they cover land with asphalt and buildings.

Organizations who took part in the rally on Saturday are hoping to work with Vander Woude and other members of the Idaho Legislature, and they're excited about the clean energy investments being made.

"I think people are walking out of here today with a sense of hope that we're going to see some action this year," said Casey Mattoon of Idaho Sierra Club.
 

Copyright 2016 KTVB


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