New York, Cairo, London, Melbourne, and yes, Lexington, joined a worldwide campaign Sunday to urge more action on climate change from international leaders.
The Lexington "People's Climate March" started at Triangle Park Sunday morning and led about 50 people down to the courthouse plaza, where speakers urged the crowd to make an international concern a local one too.
"I'm marching for my grandchildren," said Mary Ellen Neill. "I'm terrified of the world we're leaving them."
The marches were held in advance of Tuesday's United Nations Climate Summit in New York. World leaders are gathering in hopes of finding agreement on a new global climate change treaty. Scientists recently announced that this past summer was the hottest on record.
The human role in global warming is still a contested issue in some quarters, but more people are becoming convinced by the serious weather changes seen in many regions, including Kentucky.
The issue is of great importance to Kentuckians, where a coal-dominated economy has often silenced discussion of climate change, said Chris Woolery, an energy efficiency expert in Lexington. Many believe that renewable energy and energy-efficiency programs hurt economic development.
But he called it a "false dichotomy," because energy efficiency helps the environment while saving people money, and renewable energy markets can create new jobs.
"You can help the environment and create jobs at the same time," he said. "Energy efficiency pays for itself. Don't let anyone tell you you have to pick between the environment and jobs."
The Lexington protesters drew up a list for local action, including voter registration, getting more faith groups involved and individual efforts to save energy.
In New York, thousands marched through the streets toward the United Nations. The Associated Press reported that 40,000 people showed up for the march in London and 10,000 in Melbourne, Australia.