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Climate march in Tampa draws an estimated 500 people in support of clean energy

Kent Moyer, 63, of Temple Terrace hoists up his sign in support of renewable energy at the climate march in downtown Tampa on Saturday. (Courtesy of Stephanie Garza)
Published Apr. 30, 2017

TAMPA — Under the blazing sun and with signs in hand, a robust group of protesters halted traffic downtown on Saturday morning as they called on Tampa to commit to 100 percent renewable energy.

"Hey, hey, ho ho," they chanted, "climate change has got to go."

The local march's organizers estimated about 500 people came out to the Tampa protest, while hundreds of similar protests happened across the nation, including about 100 marchers in St. Petersburg.

All were done in conjunction with the National People's Climate March, held in Washington, D.C., on Saturday.

"We finally have to say something," said Tampa marcher Kent Moyer, 63. He held a sign that poked fun at statements made by White House press secretary Sean Spicer. It read: "Alternative Energy, Not Facts."

The night before the march, the Environmental Protection Agency announced it would overhaul its website and took down a site devoted to the science of climate change, which the agency said was "under review."

"It's scary," Moyer said.

Marchers said they came together because they were concerned cuts under President Donald Trump's budget plans would threaten national environmental protections — they also want to see renewable energy in their own back yard.

Tampa organizers said they want their city to adopt something similar to St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman's 2015 executive order that outlined a sustainable model for the Sunshine City that set a goal of producing zero waste and using renewable energy.

After the march, dozens walked the streets seeking out signatures for a petition calling on Tampa to do just that.

Lead organizer Dayna Lazarus said the day showed solidarity, as speakers like County Commissioner Pat Kemp spoke of investing in clean energy. Lazarus said the crowd's energy was contagious, as was their commitment to environmental justice.

"If we don't start saying something," Moyer said from a bench following the march, "we will be left in the dark like mushrooms."

Times staff writer Divya Kumar contributed to this report. Contact Sara DiNatale at sdinatale@tampabay.com. Follow @sara_dinatale.

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