Earth Day Festival Highlights Climate Change

Sims Earth Day webstory photo

Sims Earth Day webstory photo
Rayna Sims – MUTV 23 News Staff Writer

Peace Park and the surrounding streets bustled with people on April 26 as crowds gathered to celebrate Columbia’s annual Earth Day festival.

The festival had originally been scheduled for April 19 but was pushed back a week due to weather. The event was intended to coincide with Earth Day on April 22, a day in which demonstrations took place worldwide to promote environmental protection.

Columbia’s festival included over 200 booths featuring local artisan crafts, food vendors, live music, dance performances and a Kids’ Park with activities specifically for children.

Also prominent were numerous local and regional environmental organizations that hoped to bring awareness to their causes.

“Our priorities…are peace, people, and the planet and so we’re very concerned about all three,” said Joan Wilcox, a representative of Mid-Missouri Peaceworks.

Carolyn Amparan, Chair of a regional Sierra Club, said, “We’re here today to educate people about how individuals can take action to slow climate change…the most important thing right now is to communicate to our elected officials that we want more changes in favor of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

Attendee Kayla Myers believed that events like the Earth Day celebration are important in educating the public about issues such as climate change.

“I feel like we know so little…we always hear that ‘Oh, the earth is getting warmer, global warming is happening,’ but we know so little about it…things like this help with just educating people about everything,” Myers said. “I think the more we talk about it the more things are likely to change.”

One thing that differentiated this year’s Earth Day festival from those previous was the “Come Together, Save the Climate!” demonstration. At about 2:30 p.m., participants joined hands, forming a circle as leaders spoke out against climate change and led chants about protecting the planet. The goal was show solidarity in the efforts to take action against climate change.

“Respect, protect, honor the earth!” was chanted in unison by those holding hands and leaders on stage, while one of the leaders beat a drum rhythmically in the background.

Whether attendees came for fun, food, activism or all three, Columbia’s Earth Day festival had something for everyone.

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