Arkansans to March, Demand Climate Action

Arkansans to March, Demand Climate Action
Courtesy Photo The weekend of Sept. 21, activists nationwide will demonstrate at the United Nations Climate Change Conference. Groups from Arkansas will join them.

Courtesy Photo
The weekend of Sept. 21, activists nationwide will demonstrate at the United Nations Climate Change Conference. Groups from Arkansas will join them.

While debate still exists for whether climate change is happening or not, 97 percent of climate scientists agree that there’s no debate. The consensus is that human beings are causing the Earth’s climate to change, and something needs to be done about it, according to data from NASA. Many Arkansans agree, and they’re planning to head to New York City and the United Nations to demand action.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has invited world leaders, from government, finance, business, and civil society to present solutions for climate action at the UN Climate Summit 2014 on Sept. 23. The plan is to get a legal agreement for action ready in 2015.

To show their support, Arkansans from all over the state will be joining up to go on a cross-country bus ride to New York City, and will partake in demonstrations at the meeting to demand action. The public is invited to join them in The People’s Climate March, and they still have plenty of spots available, said Edward Hejtmanek, director of The People’s Climate March.

“We’re going to have consequences that we already can’t prevent, but if we continue to make it worse it’ll be dire consequences,” Hejtmanek said. “Any other issue, if you had 98 percent of the scientists agreeing, there would be no debate in the media. We want to make the statement the discussion is over. Let’s get on with action to solve this serious problem we have.”

If interested in attending, contact Hejtmanek at (479) 444-0888 or email To sign up for the bus, visit

The Arkansas bus to New York City is planned to leave from Little Rock, Ark., on Friday, Sept. 19, for four days and will return on Monday, Sept. 22. The event is sponsored by some environmental activist groups such as the Sierra Club and the OMNI Center for Peace, Justice and Ecology. The cost is $260 for lodging with three other attendees to $400 for single accommodations. Students can go for $160, and those who wish to go but can’t afford the prices can go for $60 if applicable.

During the trip, the plan is to show a few climate-related films such as “Do the Math,” and there will be books to share for people on the bus to have something to read.

Planned by Hejtmanek and Donnal Walter, a doctor at the Children’s Hospital of Little Rock, the Arkansas portion of The People’s Climate March will head out on Friday, Sept. 19. The whole bus trip is planned as a networking experience for Arkansas residents to build a network of climate activists, and provide an opportunity for people who don’t know a lot about it to learn more about the subject on the ride to New York City.

The first bus, which seats 56 people, has already been filled. People from neighboring states such as Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama have signed up to join the bus trip as well. Arrangements for a second bus have been made, and 22 people have signed up for it, Walter said.

“Everybody on that bus is going to be changed,” Walter said. “All of those people and all those signs at the march will be quite an experience. I think we will really develop some good connections, so when we can give back to our communities we can be more effective.”

Joining the people on the bus ride will be Robert McAfee, who was appointed by Governor Mike Beebe in 2007 as Climatologist to the Arkansas Governor’s Commission on Global Warming.

The People’s Climate March may be one of the biggest climate-related movements in recent history. The main Facebook event currently has about 15,000 attendees who said they would be attending, and Walter said he suspects 200,000 could be in attendance at the event.

“We want to represent Arkansas,” Hejtmanek said. “We want to show the rest of the country there are people in Arkansas that are well aware that there is a problem, and we’re trying to work together to reach solutions.”

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