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Locals participate in climate change march dressed as zombies

Union photo by Andy Hallman

A group of Fairfield residents dressed as zombies for a protest to raise awareness of climate change on Friday, Dec. 6.
Union photo by Andy Hallman A group of Fairfield residents dressed as zombies for a protest to raise awareness of climate change on Friday, Dec. 6.
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FAIRFIELD — A group of Fairfield residents protested climate change in a unique way Friday, Dec. 6 — by dressing up as zombies.

About 15 people participated in a short march from the former Orpheum Theater in Fairfield to the Jefferson County Courthouse about two blocks away. The group carried signs with a picture of the earth on fire surrounded by the words “Climate Emergency,” “House on Fire” and “Not a Drill.”

To add some spice to the event, organizers encouraged participants to dress as zombies, with makeup that gave their faces a ghostly white color with blood around their mouths and eyes. According to organizer Cheyanne Holliday, the zombie-theme was about getting the public stop sleepwalking through the problem of climate change, like zombies, and instead to wake up and confront the issue head on.

The group walked on the street to the courthouse, slowing traffic that was forced to wait behind it. Once in the courthouse’s atrium on the first floor, Holliday led a call and response with the other protesters, saying a line such as “Our house is on fire; we must wake up and put the fire out,” which the others repeated. After Holliday shouted “This is not a drill. This is a climate emergency,” the group members collapsed on the floor as if they were dead, then exited the building a minute or two later.

Holliday said she views climate change as a matter of life and death, and that if swift action is not taken, human and animals will suffer the consequences. The earth has gone through five mass extinctions in its history, the last occurring at the end of the Cretaceous Period 66 million years ago.

“We don’t want to go through a sixth mass extinction,” Holliday said.

In particular, Holliday said she wants world leaders to adhere to the Paris Agreement signed by 195 countries in 2016. The agreement calls for reducing greenhouse gases so that the earth’s temperature is no more than 2 degrees Celsius hotter than it was in preindustrial times. Holliday said another change she wishes to see is less reliance on animal agriculture, which she said was “destroying our planet, our health and the animals’ health.”

Holliday said she cares deeply about climate change and animal rights, and that’s what prompted her to open a nonprofit vegan restaurant called Plant by PEACE in the first floor of the Orpheum Theater.

Friday’s protest march in Fairfield coincided with several other climate strikes around the country in cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Austin, Dallas and others.

Mary Tarnoff, one of the participants who dressed as a zombie complete with makeup, said she has given lectures to Fairfield Kiwanis and to schools in the area about climate change.

“I feel strongly about taking action on climate change,” Tarnoff said.

Tarnoff said she liked the zombie theme, because it made participating in the protest march more fun and inviting to young people.