Hundreds rally in West Chester to support the environment


Posted: 04/29/17, 4:55 PM EDT

WEST CHESTER>> They simply wanted to be heard.

On Saturday, under sunny skies, more than 200 protesters rallied at the Historic Chester County Courthouse and marched north along High Street. They simply wanted their elected officials to listen.

The Saturday rally, “March for the Environment,” was organized locally by Margaret Hudgings of the Sierra Club. Several other organizations promoted the event. A sister rally took place in Washington, D.C., with other companion marches nationwide.

“We gather on the courthouse steps to make a healthy future for our children,” state Rep. Carolyn Comitta, D-156, told the audience of more than 200 flag wavers and sign holders.

As they marched, the crowd roared, “Show me what democracy looks like, this is what democracy looks like.”

Hudgings said that the current administration is not concerned with climate change.

“Democracy requires vigilance,” Hudgings said. “We need to be watching and standing up for what we believe in.”

Mayoral candidate Dianne Herrin said that convincing elected officials of climate change has been “pretty tough.”

“Part of the reason the progress has been a little slow is that too many of us have looked to the federal government for answers,” Herrin said. “Our democracy is not a democracy without citizen participation.”

While signs carried a wide variety of messages, many were anti-Trump.

“Lock him up,” “Science doesn’t lie, Trump does,” “Pro-Life Pro-Earth” and “Arrest Trump for Treason,” read some the protest signs.

Alison Kreutzer waved a sign reading, “I’m With Her,” which featured an arrow pointing to earth.

Chrissy Houlahan is a congressional candidate running to take Ryan Costello’s, R-6, seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. She talked about a sign she saw at another rally.

“I can’t believe we have to do this,” the sign read.

“We can’t sit by and watch Donald Trump do this,” Houlahan said, referring to Trump’s campaign mantra that climate change is a hoax. “It’s possible for us to make a difference. Our government at the highest levels is undermining us. Our government is saying that climate change is a hoax.”

Jill Beech got to the rally early.

“It’s really important that people no longer should be denying that climate change is happening,” Beech said. “It is having disastrous results.”

Mayor Jordan Norley talked about drinking from open streams on a camping trip in New Zealand.

“Without the environment, what do we have?” Norley asked. “We need to change our perspective. We have a right to clean water.”

“It’s not tomorrow, it’s today,” he said. “Now is the time we need to make a stand.”

Comitta said that protecting the environment is not a partisan issue.

“How do we shape a better future?” Comitta asked. She then answered the question.

“Vote,” she said.

“Make sure we elect officials who care about the environment,” she said. “They need to know that people are listening and taking action.”

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