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Earth Day Demonstrations Held Online Through Friday

The world's largest banks have pumped $1.9 trillion into fossil fuels since the 2015 Paris Agreement, according to the group 350 Colorado. (Ric Lander/Flickr)
The world's largest banks have pumped $1.9 trillion into fossil fuels since the 2015 Paris Agreement, according to the group 350 Colorado. (Ric Lander/Flickr)
April 23, 2020

DENVER -- The coronavirus pandemic has forced a pause in global commerce and industry, but that's not stopping climate activists.

Led by many of the same folks who organized historic school strikes, Earth Day demonstrations focused on climate action are happening online through Friday.

Stay-at-home orders created a drop in demand for fossil fuels as well as noticeably cleaner air, and Julia Williams, communications and development director for the group 350 Colorado, says the global response to COVID-19 shows people can respond rapidly when community health is at stake.

"The fact that we are taking this great pause shows our collective power, that we can mobilize when we're called to action for the greater good, and that we can do this," she states.

Williams says plans to jump start the economy should include targeted assistance for low-income and communities of color hardest hit by air pollution and the coronavirus. And she wants leaders to put people back to work on infrastructure projects that ramp up clean energy capacity.

Critics of Green New Deal proposals argue that the costs would be too high.

Williams notes the cost of not getting off fossil fuels is not going away. She says billions of U.S, taxpayer dollars will continue to be spent on the health impacts of air pollution, fighting bigger and more frequent wildfires, and recovering from hurricanes and other extreme weather events.

"Ultimately it will cost us more, as a country and as a state, to not address the climate crisis when you look at the combined impact of natural disasters, of health crises, that are all linked to the climate crisis," she states.

Wednesday's events, live streamed at www.earthdaylive2020.org, focused on the collective power of striking for climate action.

On Thursday, the theme is divesting from fossil fuels and ending government subsidies and bailouts.

Friday's actions will include a nationwide challenge to see which region of the country can register the most voters.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - CO