By Ivana Cheong
On Saturday, April 23, the sun shone brightly at Gas Works Park. Families and friends gathered to enjoy the warm weather, while the Washington Environmental Council, Climate Solutions, Sierra Club, CoolMom, and Earth Ministry hosted an Earth Day celebration.
The event highlighted the Coal-Free Washington Campaign, a movement to phase out coal power in Washington State and transition into renewable energy sources. According to the Sierra Club, the TransAlta coal plant in Centralia is the largest source of global warming pollution in Washington. To help educate the public, the event featured speakers from different organizations, such as City Councilman Mike O’Brien, State Representative Marko Liias, and Andrew Rose of Sierra Club.
“Since we are the Evergreen State, we should champion environmental causes more like this one,” said one of the attendees. “More people need to realize that they can help out on many levels. We got to lobby, call our representatives, or just spread the awareness and be educated. Otherwise, the corporations will just roll over right on top of us.”
In addition to the speeches, guests also enjoyed a free barbecue, live musical entertainment, and kite-making activities.
According to Robin Everett, the event’s organizer, the next step in the campaign is to reduce coal exports. “There has been a good chance to keep the neighborhood involved, with events like this,” said Everett. “But we’ve got a long way to go and we have to all work together to keep the campaign moving forward.”
For more information on the campaign, visit www.coalfreewashington.org.
Ivana Cheong is the My Wallingford intern and studies Communications at the University of Washington.