Hundreds descend on Ohio Statehouse to draw attention to climate change


COLUMBUS, Ohio — Hundreds of people filled every step in front of the Statehouse and nearly half of the plaza in front as part of a national movement to draw attention to climate change.

"We're in a protest to protect this earth," said one of the speakers.

"Everyone — no exceptions — are entitled to clean air, clean land and clean water," said another speaker.

Advertisement - Story continues below

According to a study by the University of Amherst:

  • In 15 of the last 20 years, annual precipitation in Oho has exceeded 20th-century averages.
  • Very heavy rainfall in Ohio has increased 37% from 1958-2012
  • Winter precipitation is projected to increase through the 21st century. Due to increasing temperatures, there will be more rain and less snow in Ohio.
  • 13 out of the last 15 years mean temperatures in Ohio exceeded 20th-century averages.

Among those who joined in this national protest was Roseanne Seryak of Reynoldsburg.

She says she came here to speak for those who can't.

"Because I have 10 grandchildren and I want their children and their children to have a planet that's healthy," she said.

The vast majority of scientists agree the climate is changing because the earth is warming.

People have increased the amount of carbon dioxide in the air by 40 percent since the late 1700s. Other heat-trapping greenhouse gases are also increasing.

Climatologists predict 70 years from now, Ohio is likely to have 5 to 15 more days per year with temperatures above 95 degrees.

More severe droughts or floods would also hurt crop yields.

Among the hundreds of people who came to this strike against the planet, many are too young to vote or even drive. They recognize that climate change is an issue their generation will be responsible to solve.

Megan Rogers brought her elementary school-age daughter to the protest.

She worries about the planet as she gets older.

"We've had years to think about how we are going to approach this and some people don't even believe it's happening. I believe even though our age is lower, we still have a voice; kids can still have the ideas to make things happen," said Haley Vissman.

According to NASA, the planet's average surface temperature has risen about 1.62 degrees Fahrenheit (0.9 degrees Celsius) since the late 19th century, a change driven largely by increased carbon dioxide and other human-made emissions into the atmosphere.

Most of the warming occurred in the past 35 years, with the five warmest years on record taking place since 2010.

Not only was 2016 the warmest year on record, but eight of the 12 months that make up the year — from January through September, with the exception of June — were the warmest on record for those respective months.

On Apr. 2, 2007 the US Supreme Court ruled (5-4) in Massachusetts v. EPA that greenhouse gases met the criteria to be considered pollutants under the Clean Air Act

As of 2010, the US had 4.5% of the world’s population but was responsible for about 28% of all global greenhouse gas emissions.

A Pew Research Center poll taken in 2018 found that 18% of Republicans in the Baby Boomer generation thought that “the earth is warming mostly due to human activity,” compared to 36% of millennial Republicans and 75% of all Democrats.

A July/Aug. 2019 Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation survey found that 86% of teenagers believe human activity is causing climate change, compared to 79% of adults.

To learn more about recommended climate adaptions for Columbus, click here.