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Science and Innovations

‘Shoe Strike’ For Climate Change Planned Saturday

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A strike for climate change is planned on Saturday at Flagstaff City Hall, but people won’t rally in person due to the pandemic. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports, instead local protestors will display pairs of shoes to represent community members concerned about the effects of human-caused climate change. 

Local organizers of the so-called “Shoe Strike” say their focus for the event is on climate justice, the idea that the people who contributed the least to climate change are most affected by it. Marco Alatorre of the community group Flagstaff’s Fridays for Future says experts predict tens of millions of people will be displaced in the coming decades by rising sea levels, drought, and other effects of climate change. 

"People talk about the kind of effects we might see by the year 2050," he says, "but my kids will still be alive in 2100 and what about their kids, and their grandkids? We are not thinking far enough ahead."

The Flagstaff City Council declared a “climate emergency” last month and made a commitment to reach carbon neutrality in 10 years. Event organizer Ariel Coffey says now is the time to make a plan. "My driving force, though, is the fact that we still have a chance, we still have a chance to do this and we have to do it now. I feel like my voice is here and I can be a powerful voice to make that change."

Shoe Strikes began in Sweden as a way to protest safely during the pandemic. They’re taking place tomorrow in several Arizona cities, including Flagstaff, Sedona, Cottonwood, and Prescott. Flagstaff’s event is from 10 to 3 at City Hall.

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Melissa joined KNAU's team in 2015 to report on science, health, and the environment. Her work has appeared nationally on NPR and been featured on Science Friday. She grew up in Tucson, Arizona, where she fell in love with the ecology and geology of the Sonoran desert.
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