Boone citizens band together to inspire climate awareness


Rally participants line up in front of the Grace Lutheran Church and hold their handmade signs as a demand for climate action from local leaders.

Brooke Bryant, News Reporter

Residents of Boone participated in the worldwide “Rise For Climate” rally Saturday to demand a fossil free world and inspire real climate action from local leaders.

“I hope it will get the Town of Boone’s attention, maybe people at the college too, to make some changes toward greener energy,” Seth Harris, participant and member of climate change activist groups, Eco Robinson and NC Creation Care Network, said. “There’s a lot of stuff out there. It’s just a matter of being aware of it and educating people on what the possibilities are.”

Participants kicked off the rally by meeting at the Sun Pavilion at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church to create signs. The signs that were created read phrases such as “There is no PLANet-B,” “Small Town, Big Change” and “If The Climate is Changing, Why Aren’t We?”

As attendees created signs and prepared for “Rise for Climate Appalachia,” many chatted amongst themselves and expressed their beliefs towards climate change and their hopes for the future.

“Hopefully an awareness and also an inspiration to do more, sort of a reminder that we can change things,” Maggie Todd, participant and sophomore special education major at App State, said. “Even if it’s a small rally, it can always lead to bigger things. No person’s voice is too small. Even the tiny things can lead to a lot of bigger things.”

One of the organizers of the rally was Susan Reed, who is an adjunct instructor in the departments of sustainable development and leadership and educational studies. Reed is a board member of Climate Voices, a principal organizer, along with Jeff Boyer, co-organizer, who helped create this event.

“I have grandkids. I have students who are now out there. They’re going to have kids or they have kids,” Boyer said. “It’s going to hit us, I mean it’s hitting us already. My thing is that we do everything we can now so that we may have a semi-soft landing.”

Boyer is a retired App State anthropology professor. He said that he started the sustainable development program in 1991, the first in the country.

“I feel a strong sense of community with the people who showed up, for sure,” Kellen Mahoney, participant and senior sustainable development major at App State, said. “It’s something that brings a lot of different people together because it puts us all on the same page.”

After creating signs, participants made their way to the four corners in front of Grace Lutheran Church, Daniel Boone Inn and Earthfare. The contributors dispersed amongst the four corners holding their creations as an attempt to gain attention from all points of view.

“I think it’s real, it’s happening today, it’s going to get worse and we need to make changes now or it’s going to be too late,” Harris said.

“Rise For Climate” occurred on a total of 7 continents in 95 different countries, according to their website.

“Personally, it means to me to just get people’s attention, especially people in power who are making the laws and regulations, since we aren’t the only city doing this today,” Todd said. “It’s all around the country, all around the world banding together to get attention.”

After almost an hour protesting participants made their way back to the Sun Pavilion to enjoy a community potluck. The potluck was zero waste, meaning that all utensils used were reusable, rather than having to be thrown away.

“I hope that people who were driving by in their cars, that it will enter their radars. I think that it’s urgent and people don’t think about it enough,” Mahoney said.

Participants finished off the event with an outdoor screening of “This Changes Everything,” a climate change documentary that takes a look at seven different communities in the world, followed by a discussion amongst viewers.

Story by Brooke Bryant, News Reporter 

Photo by Brooke Bryant

Featured photo caption: Rally participants line up in front of the Grace Lutheran Church and hold their handmade signs as a demand for climate action from local leaders.