Earth Day rally at Milwaukee City Hall calls for climate emergency, end to fossil fuel funding

NOW: Earth Day rally at Milwaukee City Hall calls for climate emergency, end to fossil fuel funding

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) - For many, Earth Day is a day for activism. On Friday, April 22, those involved in the rally downtown were raising awareness about climate change and fossil fuel funding.

"It's one day where we can devote some of our time and energy to fight for a livable planet," said one of the rally organizers, Anathea Kordosky.

Friday's rally at Milwaukee City Hall was organized by climate action group 350 Milwaukee.

"Climate change is scary," said 350 member, Tom Seery, "I used to say to younger people, 'you're in trouble.' But I'm 77 and I'm in trouble."

The event opened with an indigenous prayer and speech giving thanks to our land. 

Other speakers included Marquette students, musicians, and Milwaukee Alderman Nick Kovac, the president of the City, County Task Force on Climate and Economic Equity.

Activists at the event called on the City of Milwaukee to declare a climate emergency.

"This is where change starts, and it's important that change is started on the governmental level because it's already started on the community level," Kordosky said.

Rally organizers say that community level change includes protests against fossil fuel funding.

"We've been focusing on the banks and trying to get them to re-think their way of operating," Seery said. 

Those participating pointed to what they said is Chase Bank's role in funding fossil fuels.

"They are one of the biggest funders of fossil fuels. We're telling them that they need to stop funding fossil fuels," Kordosky said.

In response, JPMorgan Chase provided this statement to CBS 58:

"In 2021, we facilitated more than $100 billion for green activities like renewable energy, energy efficiency and sustainable transportation, doubled our green investment banking activity and were the largest underwriter of green bonds. These efforts help put us well on our way to our target of $1 trillion for green initiatives over 10 years. We are also taking pragmatic steps to meet our 2030 emission reduction targets in oil & gas, electric power and automotive manufacturing, while helping the world meet its energy needs securely and affordably."

Friday's activists vowed to keep their feet on the ground until they see tangible improvements.

350 Milwaukee says they will continue to do demonstrations outside of Chase Bank buildings across Milwaukee, every Friday at noon.

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