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Activists hope 50-mile march can walk back climate change

Sunrise Adirondacks member Thompson Tomaszewski holds a sign to highlight the need for action on climate change. (Provided photo — Sunrise Adirondacks)

SARANAC LAKE — This Friday members of Sunrise Adirondacks are taking a walk to highlight the need for climate change. A long walk. A 50-mile, four-day walk, from Saranac Lake to the Plattsburgh office of U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Schuylerville.

The march has been purposely planned ahead of the Nov. 3 election.

“We decided to show just how much we want and need action on climate change,” said Madeline Clark of Sunrise Adirondacks, who is helping to organize the event.

Sunrise Adirondacks is part Sunrise Movement, a youth activist national organization that supports the Green New Deal. This action, however, is “more about asking for ANY climate action at this point,” said Clark. “We just want voters and our elected lawmakers to do something, and to do it immediately.”

Stefanik has a mixed record on climate change and has harshly criticized the Green New Deal, a proposal to slow climate change by radically changing Americans’ energy use.

Sunrise Adirondacks member Gavriela Mallory hold a sign to highlight the need for action on climate change. (Provided photo — Sunrise Adirondacks)

Stefanik began her first two-year term in 2015 as a solid supporter of fossil fuels, as well as solar and wind energy, and the League of Conservation Voters gave her a single-digit percentage. Her LCV lifetime score has improved and is now 37%. In 2016 and 2017 she co-sponsored a Republican Climate Resolution, citing evidence that climate change is real and that Congress has a stewardship responsibility, although not at the expense of the economy. The resolution was never voted upon.

This summer Sunrise hubs across the country began a new tactic, one inspired by a pre-Civil War abolition movement called Wide Awakes which demonstrated at politicians’ homes, often in early hours or late at night to make noise, sometimes by banging pots and pans. Wide Awake protests have been held in Baltimore and Cleveland, and outside the home of U.S. Attorney General William Barr in McLean, Virginia.

Sunrise Adirondacks is planning to march about a dozen miles each day, with a proposed maximum of 15 people walking per day to maintain a socially distant, safe environment. Marchers will bring their own gear; a small support staff will also be on hand to help and to transport supplies. They’re planning on walking from sunrise to sunset each day. Three people, said Clark, are planning on walking the whole 50 miles.

On Tuesday, Oct. 6, Sunrise will hold a press conference outside of the Clinton County Government Center in Plattsburgh, where Stefanik has her regional office.

Sunrise Adirondacks member Carter Rowley holds a sign to highlight the need for action on climate change. (Provided photo — Sunrise Adirondacks)

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