PHILADELPHIA—The temperature reached a sticky 92 degrees on Wednesday, and hadn’t cooled much by the time the climate action rally started at 5 o’clock. About 50 people gathered in the inner courtyard of City Hall, holding “No Fossil Fuel Money” and “Our Time to Lead” signs. The leaders of the rally, from a youth-led climate group known as the Sunrise Movement, still sported the City Hall visitors stickers they wore to drop off a petition to Mayor Jim Kenney’s office.
“I heard Mayor Kenney was a climate champion,” said Madison Roberts from the makeshift stage. “As of right now, all he has made are promises.”
Roberts, a 2017 Virginia Tech graduate who acted as the rally’s emcee, was one of several Sunrise fellows in attendance. The petition they brought to the Mayor urged him to sign the No Fossil Fuel Money Pledge, a promise to not accept contributions of over $200 from fossil fuel interests. The pledge has over 800 signres at this point, including numerous local, state, and national-level candidates, as well as current office holders such as Bernie Sanders and House members Tulsi Gabbard and Barbara Lee.
The Sunrise Movement is a national organization aimed at “building an army of young people” with the goal of stopping climate change. Founded in 2017, they are focused on a grassroots effort to get the fossil fuel money out of politics, through local organizing and supporting candidates committed to the massive shifts required to stave off warming’s worst effects. This particular event was part of #HeatWeek, a set of rallies, sit-ins, and other actions across the country.