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Local activist to take several million steps against climate change

BY MEGAN DEPPE | DECEMBER 09, 2013 5:00 AM

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Four pairs of shoes, five hours, eight months, and 7 million steps — this is what lies before Miriam Kashi, a local environmental activist who will undertake the Great March For Climate Action this coming year. The Great March for Climate Action is a walk across America to spark a response to the climate crisis that is facing the planet. 

Kashi, who will be one of more than 150 marchers from 35 states and four foreign countries, has 83 days to finish raising the minimum funds of $5,000. As of her fundraiser on Dec. 7, she had raised 82 percent of the goal. The costs contribute to the daily food the marchers will receive, as well as supporting staff and volunteers who will assist the marchers.

Kashi was a therapist for 18 years in Iowa City before retiring and turning her attention to different environmental issues, which includes joining 100 Grannies for a Livable Future and serving with the Peace Corps for two years.  “I am doing [the Great March for Climate Action] because I am passionate,” Kashi said. “The trajectory our planet is on is not sustainable. We’ll perish if we continue like this.”

Barbara Schlachter, a cofounder of 100 Grannies, says that the group is “absolutely supportive” of Kashi’s march. “I think she’s awesome to even try it,” Schlachter said. “I’m impressed, and I will do what I can to support her.”

Schlachter also said that while no one else in 100 Grannies will walk the entire trip with Kashi, some members may take the opportunity to walk part of the march, which is an option for anyone who may not be able to walk for the entire eight months. 100 Grannies is a group that focuses on many environmental issues, which includes climate change and the control of plastic materials.

“Climate change is the most significant thing that is happening,” Schlachter said. “If we don’t address this soon, there will be repercussions that will become too difficult to address at all.” Schlachter said this was one of the reasons 100 Grannies is so supportive of Kashi’s march, because she was marching for a worthwhile cause.

“I think we need to do everything we can to make people aware of this issue,” Schlachter said. Chris Vinsonhaler, a friends of Kashi’s and an advocate for 100 Grannies, said Kashi was doing “the right and important thing.” 

“I think Miriam is deeply courageous and inspiring,” Vinsonhaler said. “We are lucky to claim Miriam as a member of 100 Grannies.” Those who join the Great March for Climate Action will walk for 246 days, stopping in designated towns to showcase sustainable technologies and practices to move the climate action forward in the city. Some ideas include urban gardening techniques and transporting a mobile wind generator.

“[The march] actually affects individuals all across the country,” Kashi said. “People’s minds will shift.” The march will begin on March 1, 2014, in Los Angles and conclude in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 1. The route will pass through Des Moines on Aug. 11 and through Iowa City on Aug. 20. 

“My middle name is ‘adventure,’ ” Kashi said.” And this is going to be a grand adventure.”


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