More than 200 protesters gathered Saturday morning to voice their concerns about climate change and its lack of acceptance by the public and elected officials.
Participants marched from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Student Union to the State Capitol before gathering at The Bourbon Theatre. The event was one of more than 300 satellite marches across the globe.
John Atkeison, the lead organizer of the Lincoln march, said the protest was meant to get the attention of more than just elected officials.
“The main motivating force for dealing with change is at the grass roots,” he said. “The politicians that are in power now don’t address the problem. They’ve been doing little or nothing about it.”
Kelyn Nightengale marched with her two children, Elliott, 10, and Zoe, 6. She said she participated to teach her kids about the importance of activism and to fight for their future.
“Climate change is real,” she said. “We have to defend the planet for our kids, particularly from this administration.”
The march took place on President Donald Trump's 100th day in office. The Trump administration has made various decisions that have curbed previous actions taken against global warming, including an executive order Trump signed March 28 that halted policies placing limits on carbon dioxide emissions.
Karen Larson, a minister from O’Neill, said she believes people deny climate change because they feel the future is hopeless.
“It’s not that they don’t believe; I think they just feel so hopeless about what it means,” she said. “It’s easier to deny than to deal with the situation.”
Once the marchers arrived at the Bourbon Theatre, a number of speakers addressed their concerns.
Karla Cooper, a minister and adjunct professor at Doane University, said the evidence of climate change is evident today, and it’s up to the people of the world to accept that and make a change.
“How ridiculous is it to realize that on April 29, in Nebraska, it’s cold,” she said. “It’s snowing in Denver. … Climate change is as real as the very breath we take.”
Nebraska farmer John Hansen said understanding the facts behind climate change can help farmers better manage the changing environment, and he advocated for a switch to renewable energy.
“What we do today has a huge impact on what we do tomorrow," he said. "I don’t care if it costs a little bit more money, I’m committed to making sure my children and grandchildren have a planet to live on.”