Seattle Central hosts inaugural Earth Day Climate Action Festival

On Earth Day this past Wednesday, students at Seattle Central College collaborated with dozens of local environmental groups to a first-ever Climate Action Festival. The rain held out and attendees enjoyed a sunny and inspiring day of climate-focused art, speeches and performances.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray was the first speaker to take to the solar-powered podium provided by Seattle City Light. He welcomed the crowd and announced his Equity and Environment Initiative to support communities most impacted by environmental injustice. Following Murray, a man claiming to be the vice president of public relations at Shell, an oil company, took the stage to invite the crowd to attend a demonstration of an oil spill. The Shell executive was actually one half of the activist duo Yes Men. Seattle Central President Paul Killpatrick then highlighted sustainable practices underway at Seattle Central College and introduced Denis Hayes, founder of Earth Day and CEO of the Bullitt Center. Hayes urged the next generation to take action to combat climate change.

The speeches were peppered by performances from local musicians Animals of Grace, Pig Snout — a band comprised of two elementary-school aged children and their father — Hearts are Thugs and Gabriel Teodros. Throughout the day, organizers from dozens of groups, including Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, Cascadia Now!, the Raging Grannies and, shared information with attendees about  climate injustices and offered ways to take action.