Hundreds plunge into icy Potomac in name of climate action

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“We must all jump into our own icy rivers and go beyond our comfort zone to fight for the policies we need,” said U.S. Representative Jennifer Wexton (D-VA-10) before a crowd of activists preparing to jump in the frigid waters of the Potomac River on Saturday, January 26, 2019. “Climate change is a serious threat, and the Chesapeake Climate Action Network is serious about solving it. Why else would so many people choose to run into an icy river in January?”

Activists call for climate action at the 14th annual Polar Plunge. Image credit Chesapeake Climate Action Network

In the name of climate action, over 200 plungers celebrated landmark victories and attracted attention for further environmental action at the Chesapeake Climate Action Network’s 14th annual “Keep Winter Cold” Polar Bear Plunge — which took place just south of DC. 

Participants of all ages took the plunge into the cold depths to raise awareness about climate change and funds to support the Chesapeake Climate Action Network’s regional campaigns for clean energy solutions. 

Hundreds participate in the annual event. Image credit Chesapeake Climate Action Network

“It inspires me to see hundreds of people jumping into the icy cold Potomac River, all in the name of climate action,” said Maryland State Delegate Lorig Charkoudian (D-20), who participated in the plunge.

This year’s plunge and celebration came just weeks after a necessary permit was rejected for the fracked-gas pipeline known as the “Potomac Pipeline,” and one week after the passage of the Clean Energy DC Act, the strongest legislative mandate on climate change in the country, which requires that 100 percent of the city’s electricity come from clean renewable power by the year 2032.

Participants of all ages took the plunge into the cold depths to raise awareness and funds. Image credit Chesapeake Climate Action Network

Said plunger Gary Skulnik, CEO of Neighborhood Sun, “It may be crazy to jump into the frigid Potomac in January, but what’s even crazier is our lack of real progress on… this urgent, ever-increasing threat.