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‘Trump’s cabinet is a joke’ chants crowd near Sen. Cochran’s office

Roger Mills, right, and dozens of activists rally against climate change deniers in government outside the Gulfport federal courthouse on Monday, Jan. 9, 2017.
Roger Mills, right, and dozens of activists rally against climate change deniers in government outside the Gulfport federal courthouse on Monday, Jan. 9, 2017. jphampton@sunherald.com

About 50 activists chanted, sang and waved signs outside the federal courthouse on Monday evening in a protest against climate change deniers in federal government.

The main target of the rally organized by the Steps Coalition was Sen. Thad Cochran, whose office is nearby. Steps Coalition spokeswoman Jennifer Croslin said similar rallies were held at Senate offices across the country.

She was surprised at the turnout because only 14 people had RSVP’ed to the event.

“It’s a testament that more and more people are aware just how severe climate change is,” she said. “It’s time for people to put their collective voices together.”

She said the best outcome would be to change the minds of a handful of senators and deny cabinet posts to Rex Tillerson, CEO of Exxon, the nominee for secretary of state; Scott Pruitt, the EPA administrator nominee; former Texas Gov. Ricky Perry, the nominee for secretary of energy; and Rep. Ryan Zinke, the nominee for secretary of interior.

Croslin was urging people to flood senate offices with phone calls after the rally.

Hearings for President-elect Donald Trump’s nominees begin Tuesday.

“I think the best we can hope for is raising the consciousness of the people,” said Roger Mills of Gulfport as the crowd chanted “Climate change is not a hoax, Trump’s cabinet is a joke.”

Raising awareness was John Johnson’s goal as well.

“People don’t realize how much we depend on the ecosystem,” said Johnson, there with EEECHO, which he said stood for Education, Economics, Environmental, Climate and Health Organization. “If we destroy it, we destroy the human race.”

Ruth Story, like Johnson from Gulfport and one of the founders of EECHO there, said people are catching on.

“People all over are more knowledgeable about climate change, the effect pollution has on our health,” she said. “They just don’t know what to do.

“They know they’d like the world to exist longer — for their grandchildren.”

And in the background, as darkness fell, another chant arose.

“No more coal. No more oil. Keep your carbon in the soil.”

Paul Hampton: 228-896-2330, @JPaulHampton

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