About 200 local residents of all ages took to the water Sunday morning in an assortment of kayaks, canoes, surfboards, paddleboards and boats to create a floating peace sign in celebration of the Baywood Climate Fest. Even more lined the shores.
The festival is part of a global movement calling for climate justice and an end to carbon pollution. The two-week United Nations Climate Change Conference will take place in Paris beginning Monday. Its goal is to reach an international agreement to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and slow the effects of climate change.
“Climate Fest is an awareness event to send a message to our global leaders that are meeting in Paris,” said Paul Irving, a volunteer who helped coordinate the event. “Avaaz (a global civic organization founded in 2007) has orchestrated all of these communities around the world, having marches and events. They collect all the data, compile it, and bring it straight into the conference. We had one in Santa Monica, one up in Santa Cruz, but the Central Coast wasn’t represented. So, we took it on here in Baywood.”
The Baywood event included live music, speakers, poets and visual arts, culminating in a musical march through the streets that ended at the small pier by the Back Bay Inn at sunset. Much of the march route could be submerged under water by 2050 — because of rising sea levels — if action isn’t taken, according to the event’s website.
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“We’ve come together today in peace and an idea that we can make a difference for global climate change,” said Carolina Van Stone of Baywood. “Unfortunately, due to the events (in Paris), they didn’t get to have a march … but we’re grateful that we’ve come together to unite.”
Longtime Baywood resident Leslie Powers stood on the shore to support her brother, who was in his kayak as part of the floating peace sign. “We’re destroying the Earth, and people don’t think about that,” Powers said. “We need to start doing stuff and taking care of the Earth … so I think this is a great thing that they’re doing.”
Danielle Ames: 805-781-7902