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Fearless Grandmothers host shoe strike to protest climate change

Shoe Strike
Blake DeVine/KEYT
The Society of Fearless Grandmothers Santa Barbara sponsored a shoe strike for climate justice outside the County Administration Building on Saturday afternoon.

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — Shoes of all sizes, colors and shapes were placed in front of the County Administration Building on Anapamu Street Saturday afternoon. 

This shoe strike symbolized a protest against climate change, sponsored by the Society of Fearless Grandmothers Santa Barbara.

The group is made-up of older women demanding urgent action to address our Earth’s climate emergency. 

“The shoes came from all over Santa Barbara and Goleta,” society representative Irene Cooke said. "From our friends, families and neighbors.”

Organizers aimed to create a safe and physically distanced event, in which shoes were displayed in place of people who would’ve attended if not for the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“These shoes represent every man, woman and child who are here in spirit to speak about the issue of climate justice,” Fearless Grandmothers activist Jane Fehrenbacher said. 

More than 500 shoes were laid out and each pair was quarantined to ensure their safety in public. 

“We cut off the donation date on Monday,” Cooke said. “So that the shoes could sit undisturbed until today.”

They’re demanding that local elected officials deny any new permits for fossil fuel projects. 

“All of these new fossil fuel projects will increase the greenhouse gas emissions in our county,” Cooke said. “That’s exactly the opposite direction we need to be going.”

Some locals walking and driving by appreciated the fascinating display. 

“There’s some actually pretty nice pairs that I wouldn’t mind having to be honest with you,” Santa Barbara resident David Chavez joked. “It’s great that they come together and do this.”

These elderly yet ambitious women hope to make an impact so that something is done to protect the planet. 

“Protecting each other from the disease,” Fehrenbacher said. “As well as what’s happening to our climate.”

“We want to leave a habitable planet for our grandchildren and future generations,” Cooke concluded.

Following today’s demonstration, all of the shoes will be stored for another strike on the last Saturday of August. To learn more about the Society of Fearless Grandmothers Santa Barbara, you can visit their website

Article Topic Follows: Environment & Energy

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Blake DeVine

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