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Norwalkers Join Cause for Clean Energy

NORWALK, Conn. — Kate Teppler doesn't know Hugo Cervantes, but she's got him and other children on her mind. "One lady was pregnant. She walked by, I said, 'That baby needs a clean environment,'" Teppler said. "We're old farts so we'll be gone by the time it really gets bad, but we need to change it."

Teppler and 2-year-old Hugo were joined briefly Saturday in a chain of people stretched across Calf Pasture Beach in Norwalk, linked by their hands and a belief that we need to conserve energy by using less oil and we need to keep the beach clean. About 30 people took part in the local participation of Hands Across the Sand , an international demonstration in support of clean energy.

The demonstration began last year in Florida, a response to an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. No one mentioned offshore drilling this year in Norwalk; the emphasis was on conservation.

"It doesn't matter if you believe in global warming or not, there are some things that you can do that aren't going to cost you anything that actually will save you money," said Teppler, one of this year's organizers. "There are remedial things that will actually save you money — it's called conservation."

Elsa Obuchowski said she was happy to take part. "It's a lot of fun, and it's very simple," she said. "You don't have to pick up a lot of trash, and you don't have to give money. All you have to do is just show up and join hands. ... I just feel it generates energy to be part of something that's happening worldwide. ... Hopefully we'll influence people's attitudes about the environment for the rest of their lives."

About 80 people took part in Norwalk last year, according to Stephanie Korose, one of its organizers. Diane Lauricella was disappointed but not surprised at the low turnout this year, because it was very dark when she arrived at 11. "I wish we had more people here, but we had some opinion leaders here. We have a lot of people from First Congregational Church on the Green, we had the leadership, the city council, town clerk, we had public works chair," she said. "These are people who are opinion leaders. I had a lot of people email me this morning and say they couldn't make it with the weather."

Opinion leaders included Rick McQuaid, president of the Common Council; Andy Garfunkel, town clerk and candidate for mayor; and Common Councilmen Nicholas Kydes and Andrew Conroy.

Conroy suggested conservation begins at home. "We have opportunities right here in our city just by keeping our buildings more efficient and more effective, and that's true with your homes," he said.

Leaders included Kimberly Eaton, church school coordinator at the First Congregational Church on the Green, who said, "My Christian belief is that we have been given dominion over the earth by God, and there are many opportunities for us, sacred and secular, to share those things with our children so it becomes part of their culture."

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