By Jessica Kong, Staff Writer
On Sunday, September 21, over sixty members of the Skidmore Environmental Action Club (EAC) -- an environmental sustainability advocacy group --journeyed to New York City to participate in one of the largest displays of social support for the environment to date. The trip from Skidmore College was proposed and organized by Amanda Paskavitz '17, Vice President of EAC. The People's Climate March was inspired by a growing awareness of the need to minimize the damaging impact of unchecked fossil fuel usage. The event was timely set before the momentous United Nations Climate Change Conference, which will be held in Paris, France next year.
Connor Crawford '17, member of the EAC and event coordinator for the on-campus Sustainability Representatives (S-Reps), spoke about the mission that nearly a half million global citizens took up when they walked from Midtown to the Far West Side. "We want America and people around the world -- because the People's Climate March didn't just happen in New York City -- to show the United Nations that we very much support CO2 emission restrictions on a large scale."
They marched for a common vision, but everyone had a unique stride. Zia O'Neill '17, another member of the EAC and education and outreach coordinator for the S-Reps, spoke about the diversity of the people she walked with. "It wasn't just radical collegestudents and kids getting together. There were three-generational families." Crawford added, "There were a bunch of grandparents that said 'I'm marching for my grandchildren.'"
O'Neill continued, sharing what she thought was the most powerful moment of the March. "There was a moment of silence for indigenous communities and frontline victims of climate change. At 12:58 p.m. there was a moment of silence and everyone raised their hands. And then you just heard this sound from thirty blocks away and it hit you and you just screamed at the top of your lungs."
And the corporations are listening. In NYC on the following Tuesday, September 23, The United Nations Climate Summit hosted a gathering of political and corporate leaders from around the world and concluded upon a firm, intensive plan of action to cut down global emission levels.
Crawford believes that everyone can and should do their part to make this historic new sustainable vision a reality. He explained, "we don't want it to end with the march. We don't want this march to be this huge event and everybody expect a culmination of changes to occur. We want to bring the ideas that were represented at the People's Climate March back to Skidmore and continue to get the community involved with environmental movements on campus."