“There are no jobs on a dead planet.” “Make the earth cool again.” “I need ice, ice, baby.”
As Bay Area comedian Margo Gomez and spoken-word artist Jevon Cochran took turns reading handmade signs from a bicycle-powered stage, hundreds of people danced, rallied and marched Saturday, choosing to spend a beautiful afternoon at Lake Merritt urging a fight against climate change.
On April 29, which marked the end of the first 100 days of the Trump administration, the rally featured talks from local artists, dozens of booths with information on sustainable living and live music from LoCura and Rupa & the April Fishes.
Gomez and Cochran urged the crowd to get more involved with their local community to push for action -- and Cochran decided to lead by example, taking $5 out of his pocket and donating it to the Bay Area People’s Climate Movement.
The grassy area in front of the Lake Merritt Amphitheater teemed with a diverse mix of people: young children, parents, college students and veteran activists. Oakland's was one of more than 250 sister marches supporting the People's Climate March in Washington, D.C., and police estimated total attendance at 2,500.
Among those were groups of environmental activists choreographing a dance to a “Soil” version of Lorde’s “Royals,” a mother-daughter duo biking to power the stage, groups of people meditating on the grass and even a few dressed as polar bears.
In true sustainable fashion, the stage was powered by Rock The Bike, a pedal-power concert and activities company owned by Paul Freedman. “I think people need to feel inspired by teamwork and personal action,” Freedman said. “We can't wait for Teslas, solar panels and wind turbines to fix it, and we certainly can’t wait for politicians to fix it.”
Event coordinator Louise Chegwidden also said she hoped to inspire others. “The people who least contribute to greenhouse gasses are the first to be impacted by the ravages of climate change and that's not right,” Chegwidden says. “I have a 14-year-old son, I breathe air, I drink water, I’m human and I’m part of the biosphere that we share with all other life -- and we are the ones who are ruining the show for everybody. So we’re the ones who need to clean it up."
More photos below. (All photos by Estefany Gonzalez.)
Funding for KQED Arts is provided by The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.
Support is also provided by Yogen and Peggy Dalal, Diane B. Wilsey, the Kenneth Rainin Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Helen Sarah Steyer, the William and Gretchen Kimball Fund, and the members of KQED