Sierra Club Rally Fires Up Crowd to Take Action

By ABBEY GREENE/ecoRI News contributor

A recent rally at the Statehouse stressed the importance of environmental and social justice. (Abbey Greene/ecoRI News)

A recent rally at the Statehouse stressed the importance of environmental and social justice. (Abbey Greene/ecoRI News)

PROVIDENCE — “We can’t eat money. If the world goes, then we go with it.” These words were shouted by activists from the steps of the Statehouse during a June 10 rally titled "The “Environment is Everyone’s Business."

Speakers at the rally — the name was politely borrowed from an April ecoRI News special report — covered a number of topics, such as the need for more renewable energy, how to go greener in everyday life and the importance of spreading the word about the environmental crisis looming on the horizon.

Music by the Raging Grannies and Penn Johnson was performed during the two-hour rally.

The keynote speaker for the event was Michael Dorsey, a respected sustainability and global governance expert. He is the interim director of energy and environment at the Washington, D.C.-based Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies.

Dorsey moved the crowd, and talked about a number of important issues. “We’re all in this together,” he said. “Rich and poor, brown and white, young and old, the fight to save our planet unifies us all. We know it’s true, because a couple weeks ago, six of the world’s biggest energy companies called for an international price on carbon. We can do this, and there’s no better place to start than here in Rhode Island.”

After his speech, Dorsey said he was pleased with the rally. “I thought it was remarkable how many people came out and it is a testament to how interested folks are in these issues and how meaningful these issues are for these people in their lives.”

With an estimated 140 attendees, many speakers were happy with the turnout. The rally’s coordinator, Robert Malin, was pleased with how it went.

“This was a rally that was planned on very short notice,” Malin said, “and the quality of the people that came, and the things that the speakers said ... I just couldn’t be more thrilled.”

Local resident Maureen Gribe was a rally attendee, and was inspired by words and music. “I've been a strong supporter for working to end climate change,” she said. “It's wonderful to hear all these groups and stories, and what is being done right now. ... The environment is the most important issue.”

New Yorker Madeline Labriola said the rally “makes me want to call my senator tomorrow!”

Some thought the rally was exactly what they needed. Warwick resident Kim Falcon said, “I get very overwhelmed when I think about what we all need to be doing, but when I come to a rally like this it is very uplifting, and it gives me a little jab to get back in there and keep doing what needs to be done.”