DECATUR — Organizers of Decatur’s first Sustain Our Natural Areas march, or SONA, invited the public Saturday at the Old King’s Orchard Community Center to hear others speak about climate change and its local impact.
Saturday’s event was part of a national movement, organized by Peoples Climate Movement, a coalition of environmentalist groups. The coalition earmarked Sept. 8 as a day for demonstrations and rallies to raise awareness about the environment.
“There are rallies and marches going on worldwide this weekend,” said Melody Arnold, a member of the Community Environmental Council of Macon County, the group that organized events in Decatur.
Saturday’s rally in Decatur placed a special emphasis on the dangers of climate change.
“We need to start talking about climate change the way we talk about the budget,” said event chair Sandra Lindberg. “No matter what you do, no matter what you care about, chances are it will be touched by climate change.”
The estimated 60 people who attended the event heard from community leaders who offered their perspectives on how climate change affects the people and places they care about.
Other activities included live music, refreshments, voter registration and an opportunity for guests to prepare handwritten questions for local leaders.
Visitors came to the rally from various parts of the city, and included students from Millikin University and Richland Community College, as well as local organizations, political representatives and churches.
Millikin senior Anthony Bryan attended the event with a couple of his environmental sociology classmates. He has learned about the effects industrial and manufacturing businesses have had on the environment. He said he has always been intrigued by the environment. “I always thought it was our duty to save the earth,” he said.
Bryan recycles, conserves water and limits his driving, but understands he can do more. “We were excited to march, maybe hold up a sign,” he said.