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Thousands Take to San Francisco Streets as Part of Worldwide Climate Change Marches

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Protesters donned inflatable dinosaur costumes and held signs reading "Don't be Fossil Fuel-ish!" (Sonja Hutson/KQED)

The "Rise for Climate, Jobs and Justice" march in San Francisco on Saturday was one of 250 rallies throughout the country, and one of more than 900 held worldwide in 95 countries.

Attendees came from all over California to take part in the march ahead of the Global Climate Action Summit being held in the city, starting Wednesday. The summit, co-chaired by Gov. Jerry Brown, is being framed as a meeting of world leaders to set ambitious goals to stop climate change.

But San Francisco marchers on Sunday told a different story.

Thousands marched down Market Street, led by indigenous people who say they've led fights across the nation to halt the construction of oil pipelines. (Sonja Hutson/KQED)

"They will raise their brand of leadership on climate solutions, but those are based on industry solutions and maintaining the status quo," says Gladys Limón, Executive Director of the California Environmental Justice Alliance. Limón, along with others at the march, take issue with some of the policies championed by Brown, including the cap-and-trade system, which places a cap on greenhouse gas emissions for companies who can then buy and sell those allowances.

"You can't pollute something over here and then decide you're gonna pay for some clean air somewhere else," says Corrinna Gould with Indian People Organizing for Change, "and that pollution is still there."


Also on Saturday, Brown signed two bills into law that would make it more difficult for the Trump administration to add new offshore drilling along the California coast.

But May Boeve, executive director of 350.org — which helped organize the march — called Brown's actions "pure theater."

"The message from the 30,000 people marching in the streets of San Francisco today was clear: keep fossil fuels in the ground," Boeve said in a statement.

Organizers lay out hand-painted signs ahead of the march. (Sonja Hutson/KQED)

Marchers want to phase out fossil fuels entirely, which they say is especially important for low-income communities that have lots of drilling sites, like South Central Los Angeles.

Tracey Beltran, who lives in that area, says that her community is fighting to pass an ordinance at the city council that would provide a "2,500-foot buffer around all drilling sites in L.A., shutting down four specific sites in South Central."

Beltran and other marchers say they these changes should be led by local community leaders.

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