Carson man walks to tout change |

Carson man walks to tout change

John Barrette

Carson City’s David Zahrt will march in March to combat climate change and gird the grid for future generations.

The 76-year-old plans to march until November, walking with like-minded advocates seeking electrical grid movement from reliance on fossil fuels to renewable energy resources, such as wind and solar power, so grandchildren and great-grandchildren can enjoy the benefits he envisions. The Great March for Climate Action will go from Los Angeles to the nation’s capital.

“I say we’re living in a consumer throwaway society, and we’ve got to change the mindset for our grandchildren,” Zahrt said during an interview about the march, the grid and fossil-oriented motor fuels that was done at his Carson City home Thursday. He cites historical precedent to show why he has faith in such a march.

“There was a march to get women the right to vote, and it worked,” he said.

He made a similar pitch earlier in the week as a guest at the Rotary Club, saying there also were marches by Mahatma Gandhi over salt and to free India, by Martin Luther King Jr. to promote equality and voting rights, and a peace march to promote nuclear test ban endeavors. He asked Rotarians to join others with financial help so he can make his trek.

During Thursday’s interview, he said organizers have told prospective march participants they should try to raise $5,000. He said he has more than $3,000 to date, but the trip begins in two weeks.

“I’ll probably be dead before rising sea levels flood coastal cities like New York, New Orleans and San Francisco,” he said, “but I have kids and grandkids who will have to live with the effects of climate change.”

Zahrt, who moved to Carson City in 2010, as a younger man spent 20 years with his wife, Linda, working nationally and elsewhere for the Ecumenical Institute on projects benefitting various communities. The couple lived in major cities such as Chicago, Boston, Denver and Memphis, in smaller communities in Mississippi and Illinois, and overseas. The pair worked, for example, in Kenya and Australia.

Then for two decades, the couple had a farm and bed-and-breakfast in Iowa. Zahrt oversaw farm operations, handled animal-husbandry aspects and worked with tenant farmers on the crops part of the operation; his spouse was a nurse with the county health department there.

Zahrt is a steadfast advocate for his anti-climate change cause.

“Because of the way the use of fossil fuels destabilizes the climate, we’re looking for a clean energy economy,” said Zahrt. The electrical grid is one focus of the march. Others include changing hearts and minds among Americans and their elected leaders, along with people worldwide, and patterns of behavior such as heavy reliance on fossil fuels for motor vehicles.

“We need to change the way we’re powering the vehicles,” he said, pushing for electric cars or alternative methods that aren’t tied to fossil fuels. “There are a number of alternatives that the fossil fuel industries don’t like.”

Zahrt practices what he preaches, not only with his plan to walk across the country but also in Nevada’s capital. He is a member of Muscle Powered, an organization also known as Citizens for a Walkable and Bikeable Carson City. His west side home has solar panels atop the roof and a large garden, both designed to promote sustainable living.

He loves to tout the benefits, telling a visitor he and his family still eat in February from the garden’s cornucopia and electrical bills run just $9 per month.