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‘We’re not going anywhere:’ Climate action groups take to the streets of downtown Bend in Earth Day protest

(Update: adding video, comments from protest organizers and attendees)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Climate action groups took to the streets of downtown Bend on Friday to demand climate action from local leaders and policymakers as part of the Global Day of Action -- this year, focusing on the Global Fight to End Fossil Fuels.

Chants of frustration over the climate crisis echoed through downtown Bend in a protest that began at City Hall and made its way to Peace Corner, at Newport Avenue and Wall Street.

"We're here --we're not going anywhere," said Freddy Finney-Jordet, an organizer of the event. "This is what we want. You can't make decisions without us noticing and then reacting to them, keeping our public representatives kind of on their toes."

Finney-Jordet, part of the Deschutes Youth Climate Coalition, said the goal of the march is to educate people on climate issues and fossil fuel usage impacting Central Oregon.

"The temperature rising is happening at every single place around the world," he said, "but then also the economic effects of climate change. So this is something that needs action on every level, which means it also needs action in every place."

Twice a year, thousands of young people from around the globe hit the streets, advocating for climate action from leaders and policymakers. In Bend, the Deschutes Youth Climate Coalition and Fridays for Future Bend led the march.

Protester Jules Greene said, "I really am excited about the diversity of the group and age. They're so well informed and we're working together, and we can keep doing that's what matters."

Greene was a nurse practitioner for over 40 years and says after educating herself, the Earth became her new patient.

OSU-Cascades student Emme, a protester and co-organizer of the march who didn't provide her last name, said, "It feels really powerful to be able to connect with other members of my community, specifically younger people, and come together and make our voices heard, so that people actually start listening to us."

Emme says being a youth makes it hard to evoke change, and she hopes to bring awareness to climate issues in Central Oregon, namely the GTN Xpress pipeline expansion that was approved Wednesday by federal regulators.

The expanded pipeline would run through Central Oregon, in addition to Washington and Idaho.

Finney-Jordet said, "Pretty much everyone's against it, but the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which is the federal body that governs, that is letting it go through anyway, and they actually just approved that."

The expansion is opposed by the governors of Oregon and Washington, as well as Oregon's U.S. senators. According to a joint filing submitted by the the attorney general of Oregon, California, and Washington, the expansion would create an additional 3.4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide.

Greene said, "Protesting there is an inequity across the board for people.  They don't get the same benefit that the fossil fuel companies (do). They make all the money. It's just unfair."

Here's the Bend protesters' news release:

Global Day of Action in Bend: Youth Call for Urgent Action on Climate Crisis

Date: April 19th, 2024 Time: 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM Location: Outside Bend City Hall, 710 Wall Street, Bend, Oregon, and Peace Corner, at the intersection of Newport Avenue and Wall Street, Bend, Oregon.

Bend, Oregon - Young climate activists from the Deschutes Youth Climate Coalition and Fridays for Future Bend are set to lead a Youth Climate Strike on April 19th, 2024, from 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM, starting outside Bend City Hall and marching to Peace Corner, arriving there around 12:30. The event aims to raise awareness about the urgent need for climate action and to demand bold policies to address the climate crisis, and is in coordination with the Global Day of Action and events around the world.

The climate strike will focus on the urgent Bend Electrification Campaign, as well as the broader need to end the era of fossil fuels, including by stopping the GTN XPress pipeline expansion.

As the impacts of the climate crisis become increasingly severe, young people are taking a stand to demand action from elected officials and community leaders. The Global Day of Action in Bend will feature passionate speeches, creative signs, and a peaceful demonstration to highlight the importance of protecting the planet for future generations.

Article Topic Follows: Environment

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Matthew Draxton

Matthew Draxton is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Matthew here.


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