Rally for environment in Miami a Success

crossposted from Miami Herald

By Jon Silman

Maybe the best way to air out your environmental grievances is by rallying for a group of environmental journalists.

“We’re preaching to the choir here,” said Ana Campos, 41, a community organizer for the Clean Energy Coalition of South Florida, “but we’re asking the choir to sing louder.”

According to a police estimate, between 75 to 100 people, and numerous environmental groups buoyed in numbers by the Occupy Miami movement, turned out for the Society of Environmental Journalists Convention at the InterContinental Hotel on 100 Chopin Plaza in Miami. The groups stood with signs, forming a unified line, facing the hotel across the street behind a long strip of yellow police tape.

There was the “Millions against Monsanto” group, who want to end genetically modified foods. The “Save Lolita” group, who want to free the killer whale from the Miami Seaquarium. And the “Save the Frogs” group, who use the tagline “Frogs are cool!”

During the rally, a group of musicians played bongos and tambourines and danced while waving signs. A man with a beard and green shoelaces on his Chuck Taylors named Nathan Pim said opposing corporate tyranny is something he can get behind. He said he’s part of the occupy movement, but he’s a proponent for environmental issues as well, so the idea of unifying the two groups made sense.

“We kind of got married today,” said Kimo Nour, a member of the occupy movement and a student at FAU. He said occupy bolstered the number of attendees at the rally by a lot.

Journalists with name tags attending the conference mingled among the ralliers, taking fliers and notes. Joseph B. Treaster, editor of TheMiamiPlanet.org, said he welcomes the addition of voices to the environmental dialogue.

“For reporters, this is one more voice,” he said, “this is one more thing to consider when you’re writing about these subjects.”

Around 3:15 p.m., the rally started to die down, and a group of musicians played a song about rebels and “sighting for the light.” People crowded into a circle around them, and it turned into an impromptu sing-along. While the band played, a man bounced his “end the fed” sign along to the music, and a woman went around and picked up trash.

After the song, dozens of the ralliers marched back to the government center, to continue the fight.

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