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Protestors call for cancellation of the Miramar Air Show

Protestors gathered on Interstate 15's Carroll Canyon overpass Thursday for one last day of demonstrations against the Miramar Air Show before its opening on Friday.

“We’re not here to kill a party, but the climate crisis is here to kill us as a species," Gary Butterfield, past president of Veterans For Peace, said.

Butterfield agrees the Miramar Air Show is entertaining, but he said that’s not the point. Butterfield said an enormous amount of pollution will go into the atmosphere during the three-day show at MCAS Miramar, and he said it's just not worth it.

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Roland Lizarondo
Past President of the San Diego Veterans For Peace is shown talking to KPBS reporter John Carroll outside MCAS Miramar on September 22, 2022.

"As citizens of San Diego, we’re being asked to make sacrifices to reduce our carbon footprint and we feel it’s incumbent upon the military, especially the Navy and Marines, to do the same," he said.

Not surprisingly, the Marines see it differently.

“We’re putting on the Air Show for a couple of different objectives," 2nd Lt. Jacoby Hawkins told KPBS on Thursday. “We really want to build that camaraderie with the local community.  We finally get, after three years, the chance to bring our local partners in, our local friends, our neighbors and show them what we do."

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Roland Lizarondo
2nd Lt. Jacoby Hawkins is shown talking to KPBS reporter John Carroll outside MCAS Miramar on September 22, 2022.

The Marine Corps admits the Air Show does emit a lot of pollution. But, Hawkins said, that’s not the whole story. He pointed to ways the base is working to be environmentally friendly.

“We have the microgrid on base which is supplying energy to homes in San Diego and then we’re looking at things to lessen our carbon output, our footprint as well," he said.

The Pentagon has long acknowledged that the climate crisis is a threat to our national security.

Butterfield said ending the Air Show would be a gesture of goodwill that the military is serious about being environmentally friendly.

“Every little bit helps.  And this is something that is optional and for entertainment.  It’s choking us.  It’s code red for humanity.”

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