Just as they have done for the past two months, the Society for Fearless Grandmothers Santa Barbara chapter held its monthly shoe strike for climate justice on Saturday.
The latest strike was held near Stearns Wharf on West Beach to make sure more eyeballs were around.
In July, the shoe strike was held outside the County Administration Building on Anacapa Street.
“The other location was targeting the Board of Supervisors and the problem with that location is it doesn’t get very much traffic, so you put in a lot of work and not very many people see it,” Irene Cooke, a member of the society, told the News-Press.
“Here, we have gotten a lot more people to pay attention and that really is the whole point, to raise awareness and encourage people to demand action.”
Back in July, the group collected about 500 pairs of shoes. On Saturday, they had well over 700 pairs donated to stand in their place at the beach, respecting the COVID-19 guidelines.
In the months since the first shoe strike, a lot has happened around the West Coast and especially in California with the constant fires, multiple heat waves and poor air quality.
This month, the shoe strike also made sure to call special attention to sea-level rise in the ocean due to climate change. According to Ms. Cooke, that was very much intentional.
“Today, we did the sea-level rise because last week the city had its meeting on the sea-level rise adaptation plan,” Ms. Cooke said.
“We want people to really pay attention to that because just to adapt the basic infrastructure here would be $4 billion. People say we can’t afford a Green New Deal but in the long run, we’re going to be spending billions and billions of dollars.”
On Saturday, Ms. Cooke saw a mother and her son walk by the shoe strike. The mother stopped and talked to Ms. Cooke saying that her young son was interested in talking to her about climate change.
“He was about 7, so it shows even the smallest children are aware of this and they’re worried about it. It’s their future,” she said.
It even reminded her of dinner she had with her own grandson this past week in which he was also worried about climate change.
“We’re the adults, we’re supposed to be taking care of them and if we’re not taking care of the planet right now, we’re not taking care of them,” Ms. Cooke said.
Dillon and Jennifer Cohen attended the shoe strike in support of the Society of Fearless Grandmothers.
“It’s an existential crisis, climate change and sea-level rise. I am deeply concerned about the fires that we see around us and I’m here also, because of the intersection between climate justice and racial justice,” Mr. Cohen said. “It’s important that people take a moment on a beautiful day to reflect on what we need to survive, clean air and clean water.”
The Cohens live in New York for most of the year. Ms. Cohen has been involved in protests like Saturday’s for the past four years, and was excited to join the cause.
“This is the most important issue for me. We’re in need and could we make it more obvious? The problems and the issues that we’re facing is terrifying,” she said.
“The next election is coming up in just a few days and when people say vote because your life depends on us, they couldn’t be more serious.”
Ms. Cooke said she is not sure where next month’s shoe strike will be held, but has enjoyed keeping the public informed.
“It’s a lot of work, but this is an incredibly committed group of women who are just devoted to raising awareness,” she said.