Dozens of climate activists young and old gathered in front of the Santa Barbara County Administration Building for a Halloween-themed climate rally and march along State Street in Santa Barbara on Friday evening.
The march was organized and sponsored by UC Santa Barbara’s Environmental Affairs Board, the Santa Barbara County Action Network, Sunrise Santa Barbara, the Society of Fearless Grandmothers Santa Barbara and 350 Santa Barbara.
The Santa Barbara event coincided with several Fridays for Future climate strikes all around the world ahead of the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference that will take place in Glasgow, Scotland, Oct. 31 through Nov. 12.
“On Aug. 9, the intergovernmental panel on climate change published their latest report outlining the state of the climate crisis. … From the report, the past five years have been the hottest on record since 1850, sea levels are rising almost three times faster than in the 1900s, and oceans are becoming hotter and more acidic while polar glaciers are melting,” said Alyssa Nazari Jain with Sunrise Santa Barbara. “Now more than ever, it’s clear that this is not just about the future. Climate change is happening right here, right now.”
Before the march, participants signed postcards to be sent to Gov. Gavin Newsom asking him to stop all new fossil fuel permits, drop existing oil permits and to thank him for the 3,200-foot setbacks from oil wells that Newsom announced Thursday that he will be rolling out for sensitive sites, such as hospitals, schools and day care centers.
“Just in the last two weeks, we’ve seen the Alisal Fire to the north of us and a huge oil spill to the south,” said Nadia Abushanab with Santa Barbara County Action Network. “Frontline communities in California face disproportionate risk to climate change, and we need Newsom to take action now.”
Climate activists in Santa Barbara also asked California leaders to take any action in general for the climate.
“We’re here today to tell California senators to not accept any deal that does not have meaningful climate action,” said Kat Lane, who has been involved in climate activism since 2019, when she arrived in the area to attend UCSB. “We stand here today to say no climate, no deal.”
The climate march stayed in the Halloween spirit with some people in climate-related Halloween costumes and chants such as “Trick or treat, trick or treat, the wheels of people cannot be beat.”
Participants marched down State Street, through De la Guerra Plaza, and back up State Street with signs that also played on the Halloween theme.
“Let’s be scared for Halloween, not our future,” one sign read.
“Drive out the ghouls who push fossil fuels,” read another large sign held during the march.
Other signs included art of ghosts, haunted houses, or even politicians as scary creatures.
As the U.N. Climate Change Conference takes place, the same organizations are planning to hold another climate march and rally on Nov. 5 to demand that action is taken at the conference.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” Lane said. “All of these struggles are all one, and being here, learning is what it’s all about.”