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Albuquerque rallies for sustainability during protest

Albuquerque rallied together Sept. 8 for the Rise at the Rio for Climate, Water, Jobs and Justice demonstration calling for renewable energy and environmental justice.

The event was part of a larger, international coalition called The People's Climate Movement. Demonstrations in cities all over the world have been held as a part of this movement.

Camilla Feibelman, the director of the Rio Grande chapter of the Sierra Club, was the main organizer of the event.

“People are gathering to show that the solutions to global climate change also lead to innovation, development of the economy and jobs,” Feibelman said

The demonstration began with a march from the National Hispanic Cultural Center Center to South Valley Gateway Park. The park had speakers, booths and music. Over 20 environmental groups participated in the event, including the recently formed 350 New Mexico UNM student chapter.

David Ogden, UNM student and member of 350 New Mexico, donned a 10-foot tall papier-mâché Mother Earth costume.

“I just felt I had to do something,” Ogden said.“We want to put UNM on more of a path of using renewable energy.”

One of the messages emphasized by protestors was for New Mexico to use more solar and other renewable energy resources. Sara Barudin, was gathering petition signatures to implement solar energy installations on a large scale throughout New Mexico communities.

“New Mexico has the capacity to be on 100 percent renewable energy,” Barudin said.

Mayor Tim Keller announced in June that the city will invest $5.2 million to install solar panels for a dozen public buildings.

Groups such as Frack Off Greater Chaco, Moms Clean Air Force, Organizing for Action and many more had petitions on sight for attendees to sign.

Staffers for Senator Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, as well as U.S. Representative Michelle Grisham read statements in support of the demonstrators.

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Musicians also gathered at the event such as The Raging Grannies, the Albuquerque chapter of a national activist organization. The group kicked the event off with a revised Bob Dylan song, “Oh for the Climate it is-a-changing.”

Sol Traverso is a freelance news reporter at the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at or on Twitter @SolTraversonic.

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