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Grand Rapids candlelight vigils bring awareness to climate change

Posted at 10:05 PM, Nov 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-07 09:01:41-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — West Michiganders made a push toward making climate change a top priority Saturday. They joined an international movement working towards reducing emissions.

A couple dozen people gathered outside First Church Fellowship Hall to spread their message of reducing our carbon footprint.

"My wife and I only have one car, we try to eat very little meat, we grow food in our backyard, and we compost," Vice President Evangelical Environmental Network Kyle Meyaard-Schaap said.

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He joined several religious members in Grand Rapids to hold candlelight vigils throughout the city. These candles symbolize solidarity in their movement and join others in vigils all around the world.

"Create a lot of hope for people. I know climate change can feel isolating, overwhelming, and coming together in person can feel empowering and hopeful…I also hope this raises visibility. I believe Christians should be on the front lines of the climate crisis calling for action to medicate carbon emissions to help people to adapt to climate impact because Christians are called to love God," Schapp told FOX 17.

This fall, Grand Rapids declared climate change a crisis in the city and has outlined a goal to source 100% renewable energy for all city operations by 2025, with the main goal to be carbon neutral by 2040.

This fits nicely into the huge push by Consumers Energy and DTE energy as they concentrate on solar and wind power.

"So, we are certainly making positive steps in the right direction. Obviously, we need to do as much as we can as quickly as possible," Schapp said.

The city plans to have a community-wide carbon emissions report by June next year.

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