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Green Valley group: Climate change shouldn't be political

Views on climate change – from the extent of the problem to what actions should be taken – can become politically partisan in the blink of an eye. But the Santa Cruz Valley Climate Coalition is trying to raise awareness without getting bogged down in politics.

The Climate Coalition began in 2011 with a small group in Green Valley exchanging concerns over climate change. They began reading books together, studying climate change and learning about personal actions they could take to lower their carbon footprint. Now, the Climate Coalition has members from Tubac, Rio Rico, Green Valley and Sahuarita, and 115 people on its mailing list.

Co-facilitator Connie Aglione said the group's goal isn't to push an agenda but to address a moral problem.

"The science is known, solutions are known," she said. "It's not really a scientific problem or a technological problem, it's a moral problem. It's a moral problem because right now different areas of the world are being impacted by the effects of climate change and it's often the poorer areas."

The Climate Coalition has organized what it calls a non-partisan, interfaith rally for Friday to raise awareness about personal actions such as lowering energy use and collective actions like advocating for policies that eliminate fossil fuel dependency.

Aglione said several coalition members belong to Interfaith Power & Light. Interfaith began in California in 1998, and works with congregations across the country to address climate change through education, lowering energy use and advocating for public policies that limit carbon pollution and advance clean energy.

She said people are living up to their responsibility to be good stewards of the planet and to act on climate change for the good of future generations.

"I think that's the frame that a lot of the churches use," she said.

And whether at their rally or during their meetings, Aglione said the group will neither inquire about where people stand politically nor do they want people divulging it with partisan banners or clothing. Aglione said surveys have shown concern about climate change can be found regardless of left or right.

"It's really a shame it ever became a political issue," she said. "There's nothing political about it. It's a fact, a science, and it became politicized. It became a liberal versus a conservative issue and it really isn't. It's a life issue and a science issue."

This report was first published by the Green Valley News.

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courtesy Connie Aglione

Laurie Jurs, left, Kathy Babcock, Connie Aglione, Connie Williams get ready for a climate march in Tucson.

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