As the procession began down the sidewalk of Sag Harbor's Main Street Saturday afternoon.
As the procession began down the sidewalk of Sag Harbor’s Main Street Saturday afternoon.

As more than 100,000 people gathered in Washington, DC for the People’s Climate March on April 29, Sag Harbor played host to nearly 300 marchers, who joined in the effort to fight back against climate change deniers, the potential dismantling of the Environmental Protection Agency and the national climate that has suddenly become hostile to renewable energy.

“It’s about survival for everybody, not just me, Sag Harbor and Hampton Bays, every living creature,” said Sigrid Meinel, who was standing on the sidewalk in front of the village’s Christmas tree just after noon, holding a sign that read “Water is Life — Because You Can’t Drink Oil.”

“I’m saying no to Trump, yes to science and yes to what we know,” she said.

Julia Ludmer, who was standing next to her, said she came to the march because she cares about “the world, immigrants, the destruction of our environment, our grandchildren and war.”

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Kevin McAllister of Defend H2O carried one end of the sign at the front of the procession reading “People’s Climate March Sag Harbor,” as the crowd marched on the sidewalk from Long Wharf, up Main Street, crossing over at the intersection with Madison Street and then back to Long Wharf

“People need to participate, and oppose denial,” said Mr. McAllister.

Another marcher, John Andrews, said he’d joined the march to support the Citizens’ Climate Lobby’s proposal for a Carbon Fee and Dividend, which would charge fossil fuel companies for the carbon dioxide emitted by the combustion of fuel, and give that money to the American public for use however they wish.

“I think their approach is the best approach,” he said, adding that their bill appeals to conservatives who believe in the free market, and to liberals who are concerned about the changing climate.

Mr. Andrews said the Congressional Climate Solutions Caucus currently has 38 members, including East End Congressman Lee Zeldin, and he’s hoping their ranks will swell to at least 60 members —  more than the Freedom Caucus, at which time he believes their support for the carbon tax will gain a great deal of credibility.

“In this acid political climate, it’s the only game in town,” he said.

We caught up with Renewable Energy Long Island Executive Director Gordian Raacke on Friday afternoon, as he was on a train bound for Washington, DC for the national People’s Climate March. He said he was hoping to meet several people from the East End there.

“I hope it will raise the issue of climate change in terms of the importance of doing something about it,” he said. “I’m proud to come from a place that’s doing something about it at a local level.”

Mr. Raacke pointed out that East Hampton committed in 2014 to meet all its electric needs with renewable energy by 2020, and Southampton Town is expected to soon pledge to meet the same goal by 2025.

“The whole South Fork could be powered by renewable energy in a couple years, which is just wonderful,” he said. “Rather than just talk about problems, let’s talk about solutions. Despite what the federal government is doing, we can do this at the local level.”

Beth Young
Beth Young is an award-winning local journalist who has been covering the East End since the 1990s. She began her career at the Sag Harbor Express and, after receiving her Masters from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, has reported for the Southampton Press, the East Hampton Press and the Times/Review Media Group. She founded the East End Beacon website in 2013, and a print edition in 2017. Beth was born and raised on the North Fork. In her spare time, she tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at

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