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During a steady, cold downpour, a sea of multicolored raincoats and umbrellas wound its way down Main Street, waving signs with statements like “Enough discussion! Climate action now!” and “denial is not policy.”

Hundreds of Bozemanites showed up for Friday’s climate march, which was led by the local chapter of the Sunrise Movement and the Montana Sierra Club and was part of the Global Climate Strike, a campaign to demand government action on climate change.

“We march today in solidarity with young people around the world who recognize our future is not just at risk but is disintegrating before our eyes,” said Sara Blessing, a march organizer and leader of the local Sunrise Movement. “ … We that have the most to lose demand a livable planet. This is possible. Change is possible.”

Marchers gathered at Cooper Park at 1 p.m. and met up with dozens of students on Main Street. Some led chants, passing cars honked and one person even dressed in an inflatable polar bear costume and carried a sign that read, “Let us pause for a moment of science.”

There were so many participants that Justin Rochin and Erik Kurowski had time to duck into a coffee shop to warm up before rejoining the tail end of the march.

“I wake up every day and just think about how much everything I do in life is so connected to the destruction of the planet,” Rochin said. “It makes me feel so guilty, but we can do something about it.”

The Global Climate Strike came out of the Friday’s For Future campaign, a student movement that began when Greta Thunberg, 16, sat in front of the Swedish parliament every school day for three weeks to protest lawmakers’ inaction on climate change. Her effort sparked protests around the world, with students leaving school on Fridays to demand their governments address climate change.

“Students have been striking, and they said, ‘Hey adults, it’s time to join us,’” said Greg Findley, an event organizer and member of the Sunrise Movement. “That’s why we’re here today.”

Students played a major role in Bozeman’s event with dozens from Bozeman High School, the Bozeman Field School, Headwaters Academy and Montana State University participating.

“I don’t think it’s fair that our futures are being taken away from us or that the animals are dying over human action,” said Sadie Omohundro, 15, as she stood huddling under an umbrella with a few other Bozeman High students.

After marching, several students took the stage at Bogert Park to speak about why they think lawmakers need to address climate change.

“This is our earth and she is dying because of us,” said Rowan Keith, 10, adding, “Each of us needs to change our behavior.”

To loud cheers, Jamie Dahman, 12, offered an optimistic message.

“I’m here to give everybody hope that this whole generation is going to step up and fix this issue and hope that people who will not be here to see this future will help...,” he said. “There is a solution to this problem and we can fix it.”

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Perrin Stein can be reached at 406-582-2648 or at Follow her on Twitter @PerrinStein.

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