Eugene students march and rally against anti-climate efforts by NW Natural
About 150 Eugene students marched out of their schools Friday as part of the 2023 Global Climate Strike. They converged on the downtown to protest corporate efforts to overturn the city’s natural gas ordinance.
Milla Vogelezang-Liu is a youth climate activist from South Eugene High. “If we are to take on the fossil fuel industry, transition to clean energy and stop the worst impacts of the climate crisis—we have to be ready to fight.”
With a Feb. 6 vote by its city council, Eugene became the first city in Oregon to vote to phase out fossil fuel hookups in new homes. The ordinance applies to building permits issued on or after June 30. Following the vote, NW Natural announced efforts to overturn the policy with a ballot referendum.
Mayor Lucy Vinis briefly took the mic to cheers from the youth.
“Students of Eugene, I am so proud to be your mayor today,” Vinis cheered. “I am so proud of you for coming out and for marching for your future.”
Besides NW Natural, students chanted against the marketing firm Funk/Levis, Travel Lane County and Eugene Chamber of Commerce for helping to “derail local climate policy.”
One student yelled, “Chamber of Commerce!” And the crowd yelled back, “Our climate isn’t for sale!”
Among the young people who spoke during the Friday rally were Avery McRae, a youth climate plaintiff in the case, Juliana v. United States. And Jerrel Brown, Environmental and Climate Justice Organizer with NAACP Eugene-Springfield.
The Raging Grannies made an appearance, singing and chanting in solidarity with the young climate activists in the crowd.