Fri, 26 Sep 2014 12:22:00 CDT — by: Rachel Chu, C'17 first featured in the Sewanee Purple
Sewanee student voices joined with others in New York City.
On September 21, over 400,000 people participated in the NYC People’s Climate March with around 2600 satellite events in 150 other countries. The turnout for this march was by far the largest for climate change ever, and exceeded the March on Washington, which means it was an unprecedented success. Funded by the Office of Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability, ten Sewanee students, Rachel Chu, C’17, Heather Crosby, C’16, David Evans, C’15, Hannah Glaw, C ‘16, Ekaterina Kurova, Zack Loehle, C’17, Molly Mansfield, C’17, Darby McGlone, C’17, Breaux Tubbs, C’18 andEmily Sherwood, C’18 set off on charter buses, accompanied by people from Arkansas, Missouri, and Tennessee, to take part in the march.
The march was timed to precede the U.N.'s summit on climate change on September 23. The marchers aimed to show the heads of state that they know the causes of global climate change, and that the people need legislation in order to change the rapidly increasing effects. They also aimed to show people around the world that everyone needs to start paying attention to the science of climate change. Many people still deny the science, mainly because of our convenient, consumer-based culture.
Considering the large turnout, the UN members will no longer be able to deny the people their rights to climate justice. America has shown that much of the world demands a legislative response to the effects and causes of climate change, and they have shown their power in numbers. They chanted, "United Nations can't you see that there is no Planet B!"
The turnout for the march included communists, anarchists, socialists, democrats, unions, feminists, children, vegans, etc. TV screens were provided next to the march playing slideshows of people showing support from all over the world. It was overwhelming and moving for all to be around so many passionate people who are trying to be heard. Zack Loehle, C ’17 remarked, “It was incredibly powerful to see a physical manifestation of a movement that is normally very dispersed, and also undergoes a lot of misplaced skepticism.” People cheered for the marchers from all sides, even some of the volunteer security guards. Some signs said "I don't want to die," and "I can't breathe" and "fossil fuels are ancient history." The range of different climate change issues were truly incredible: from fracking to the pollution of the Arctic.
College students are the first generation of humans affected by climate change and the last generation who can change it. The effects of climate change will continue to get worse even if humans stop everything they’re doing wrong now. It is students’ responsibility to reduce the effects and reduce the rate of climate change. If the youth don't begin changing the cultural and social norms that contribute to climate change, their children, families, and futures will be affected. Students are privileged to have access to this knowledge and information, and now they have a job to learn as much as they can in order to change the future.