Students join international climate strike for action to save the planet

McDaniel students helping to organize Climate Week on campus
October 08, 2019

The McDaniel community — mostly students — joined peers in Norway, Germany, Taiwan, Ghana, New Zealand, Oregon and all points in between to strike at noon Sept. 20 to bring awareness and spark action to stop climate change.

The signs they held high over their heads — “There is no planet B” and “Stand Up for What We Stand On” and “Make the Earth cool again” — shouted their frustrations at what is happening or being done to the only planet we have.

They’re worried. Young people all over the world are worried that the Earth will be uninhabitable in their lifetime. And they are speaking out. Making signs. Marching. Walking out of classes. Striking.

Telling big corporations and government alike to wake up to reality and do something to reverse climate change.

Two McDaniel organizations, Green Life and the Progressive Student Union (PSU), pooled their enthusiasm and activism to orchestrate Climate Week, Sept. 20-27. Kicking off the event by joining the global Climate Strike Sept. 20, students poured out of class and lunch and study sessions to gather on Memorial Plaza.

Rachel Gunnerson, a junior from Hood River, Ore., and Jake Fine, a junior from Lambertville, N.J., performed Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi” with the lyrics “they paved paradise and put up a parking lot” echoing around the quad. One speaker after another took the podium, each calling for action to reverse the downward climate spiral.

PSU president Samantha Bouton of Pasadena, Md., and Green Life president Emma Findeisen of Westminster, Md., led the week-long rally, which included Meatless Monday, Turn it off Tuesday, Letter Writing Wednesday, Think about the Future Thursday and Campus Carbon and Sustainability Friday.

“Really what is the point of educating ourselves if there’s not going to be a future?” asked Bouton, a senior Political Science and French major who said it is time for big corporations and governments to do their part to stop climate change.

A week later, Bouton and Findeisen were back on the plaza again sparking awareness and enlisting their peers in the movement.

“We’ve had a lot of positive feedback — people said they were interested or that they learned something new,” said Findeisen, a junior Environmental Studies and History major, displaying bananas, coffee, corn and grapes to demonstrate what’s going to be lost if the Earth gets too warm. “It’s important to make this close to home for everyone — the shock factor doesn’t work.”

Climate change couldn’t have been closer to home for junior Khalil Edwards, a Computer Science and Philosophy major from Hawaii.

“I live on a tiny island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean,” Edwards said. “As the oceans rise, they threaten my home. My island could disappear into the sea.

“We have to take action now — maybe I can’t save my own land but maybe I can help to save others.”

McDaniel students spark awareness and action to reverse climate change
McDaniel students spark awareness and action to reverse climate change
McDaniel students spark awareness and action to reverse climate change
McDaniel students spark awareness and action to reverse climate change
McDaniel students spark awareness and action to reverse climate change
McDaniel students spark awareness and action to reverse climate change
McDaniel students spark awareness and action to reverse climate change
McDaniel students spark awareness and action to reverse climate change
McDaniel students spark awareness and action to reverse climate change

McDaniel climate strike organizers (standing, l-r) Samantha Bouton, president of the Progressive Student Union, and Emma Findeisen, president of Green Life, with (seated, l-r) juniors John McEachern and Khalil Edwards.