Climate change has been one of the most talked-about topics in contemporary times.
In fact, all over the world, young people have been participating in climate strikes to encourage their respective countries to adopt clean energy policies that would keep fossil fuels in the ground.
In an effort to stand in solidarity with international initiatives, the TRUSU Eco Club organized their own demonstration right here on campus.
On Nov. 22, students gathered in the Campus Commons in front of the Campus Activity Centre to listen to speeches before making a lap across the university.
“The climate is changing so why aren’t we?” was just one of the many chants participants in the march shouted while waving signs that encouraged onlookers to think about the future of the planet.
Jessica Guthier, one of the organizers for the strike, told the Omega the demonstration was inspired by previous events the club hosted to promote sustainability.
“The strike is happening as part of the Fridays for Future initiative which is having international strikes on a quarterly basis,” she said.
Guthier insisted that everyone should be concerned about climate change because the negative effects have the potential to impact the entire human population.
“We’re inheriting this future but we’re also borrowing it from our children and we’re borrowing it from our own futures,” she asserted.
“So as a young person -like any person- it’s really important to understand that our comfort for today means impacting people’s wellbeing in the future.”
Guthier said she thinks the issue of global warming should be particularly concerning for college students since most of them still have a significant portion of their lives ahead of them.
“I think as up and coming professionals we’re wanting to impact the world in some way…but we’re not going to be able to do that if in 12 years our whole society is crumbling,” she said.
“By then your degree might not mean anything, so we have to fight for our future.”
Guthier said she hoped the Eco’s club climate strike showed the TRU community that “protests can be peaceful.”
She explained that although a number of climate strikes have been demonized by “fear-mongering” tactics, fighting for the environment is the right thing to do.
“You should never be afraid to speak out for something that’s important and for the right to have clean food, clean air, and clean land,” she insisted.
“This isn’t just a climate crisis, it’s fighting for climate justice because the environmental issue is an issue that also incorporates a lot of other equity issues such as racism, colonization and issues with capitalism.”
Stating that advocating for the environment is a “broad issue” that must be addressed through an “intersectional perspective,” Guthier also said she hoped the climate strike would inspire more students to be more active within their local communities.
“There are lots of ways to get involved with Fridays for the Future and with other initiatives,” she said.
“Students can get involved politically by writing emails to their MPs, making phone calls and writing letters.”
Guthier added that students can also use their social media accounts to help spread information on the current climate crisis.
“What’s really important is raising awareness and you can make individual change through sustainability,” she said.
“Start composting and buy less single-use products. Something as simple as exchanging a straw in the cup, while not maybe changing the entire outcome of the climate crisis, is an individual change you can certainly make.”