In Peoria, Climate Strikers Rally for Urgent Action

Sep 20, 2019

Activists from across the world are protesting today in an effort to drive governments to address climate change.

About 50 people of all ages gathered outside the war monument at the Peoria County Courthouse in 90 degree heat to demonstrate. 

Protesters wielded signs, chanted, and hoisted up a large globe above their heads to get their message out.

Heart of Illinois Sierra Club organizing representative Ryan Hidden says that while the movement is driven by students, everyone should be concerned about the drastic environmental impacts posed by climate change now, and in the future. 

“It is the kids who will have to deal with it more. But also it’s us living today. Us in their 20s, 30s and 40s. If we don’t do something soon, we’ll have great negative impacts," Hidden said. 

Alyssa McMillen of Change Peoria and the Heart of Illinois Sierra Club organized the climate strike. She said there are some positive recent moves, such as the settlement that would shut down the E.D. Edwards coal-burning power plant in Bartonville by the end of 2022 - but it's not enough. 

“I’m glad that action’s happening, but we just want action to happen faster," she said. 

The protests were inspired by 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, who travelled across the Atlantic to the U.S. in a green-powered sailboat. She testified on climate change before the U.S. House earlier this week.

The protests come in advance of a United Nations meeting on climate change in New York City on Monday.