Linn County Board of Supervisors declares a climate crisis ahead of Friday’s national climate strikes

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From Sunset to Sunrise: Climate March

Raygun, 1028 3rd St. SE — Friday, Dec. 6 at 5:15 p.m.

Demonstrators at the Oct. 8, 2019 flood groundbreaking in Cedar Rapids draw attention to climate change’s impact on increased flooding. — Izabela Zaluska/Little Village

The Linn County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution on Wednesday declaring a climate crisis in light of increased drought and heatwaves, decrease in the bird population and flooding throughout Iowa.

The action by the supervisors occurred just days before people around the country — including in Cedar Rapids — prepare for the next national climate march. The main event in Cedar Rapids on Friday, Dec. 6, will be an evening march to Cedar Rapids City Hall.

The event starts at Raygun, 1028 3rd St SE, at 5:15 p.m.

Linn County Supervisor Stacey Walker, U.S. Senate candidate Kimberly Graham and local climate activists are expected to speak for 45 minutes. Participants will then march the roughly one mile from Raygun to city hall.

The event is organized by the Cedar Rapids and Dubuque chapters of the Sunrise Movement, along with Cedar Rapids Climate Strikers.

Sunrise Movement Cedar Rapids is also organizing a strike at the Educational Leadership and Support Center, 2500 Edgewood Rd SW, at 7 a.m. The strike coincides with the Cedar Rapids Community School District’s State of the District event.

In the afternoon, Sunrise Iowa is organizing an event in the area, a march to Rep. Abby Finkenaur’s Cedar Rapids office to demand she support the Green New Deal. The march starts at 1 p.m. at the Cedar Rapids Public Library.

None of the Democrats in Iowa’s congressional delegation support the Green New Deal.

Finkenauer, still in her first term representing Iowa’s 1st Congressional District, has avoided mentioning it.

In March, the Des Moines Register asked Finkenauer where she stands on the Green New Deal, and the representative submitted a written response that didn’t mention the proposal.

“Climate change is real and one of the most significant issues facing our world today… I am focused on making sure we repair and rebuild our infrastructure in a way that reduces its carbon footprint, makes our communities more resilient to severe weather, and creates good-paying jobs building a smarter transportation system,” she wrote.

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At a groundbreaking ceremony in October for the latest addition to Cedar Rapids’ flood control system, Finkenauer talked about how the increased flooding is associated with climate change in her remarks, but did not mention the Green New Deal.

Graham, who is seeking the Democratic Party’s nomination to challenge Republican Sen. Joni Ernst in the Nov. 2020 general election, listed climate change as one of her top priorities and supports the Green New Deal. Graham has been endorsed by both Walker and Cedar Rapids Sunrise Movement.

In its endorsement of Graham, Sunrise Cedar Rapids cited Graham’s support of the Green New Deal.

“Graham has the courage to do the right thing, especially when it’s unpolitical and bold,” the organization wrote in their endorsement. “Climate change is the biggest challenge humanity will ever face, and we need unapologetic fighters like Graham on our side.”

Editor’s note: This story originally listed Sunrise Cedar Rapids as organizing the march to Rep. Abby Finkenaur’s Cedar Rapids office, instead of Sunrise Iowa.

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