By Olivia Balog
Baltimore Watchdog Staff Writer
College and high school students in the Baltimore region have been working hard in recent months to raise awareness about climate change.
They are actively pushing for fossil free and environmentally friendly changes in their schools through protests, rallies, clubs and written messages to campus presidents.
“Climate change will unquestionably lead to societal breakdown and perhaps global extinction unless society takes immediate and drastic action,” said Trinity Eimer, a leader of the Baltimore Climate Walkout that occurred on Sept. 20.
Eimer, a 17-year-old high school senior at the Bryn Mawr school, said she has always been interested in sustainability and saving the planet. She said she encourages other students to participate by taking more active roles working with school administrations to minimize their schools’ carbon footprints.
“Adults can help create change in their communities as well, promoting solar energy, composting in their own homes, and interacting with local and state governments to emphasize the importance of sustainability in politics,” Eimer said.
Eimer organized the Sept. 20 march that brought thousands of students and residents of Baltimore together to rally for climate change.
Students of several different schools marched all over Baltimore, starting from the Tri-School area to the Inner Harbor and ending at City Hall, to make themselves seen and heard.
Loyola University was one of the several schools that participated in the march.
Natalie Lana, a senior at Loyola University majoring in Global Studies, said she has urged her school to take more proactive steps to curb climate change.
“I call upon the students, faculty, and staff of the Loyola community to stand up and show the administration that we are passionate about this cause, and we will not simply sit back and watch as we contribute to the global disaster of climate change,” said Lana, who is a member of Loyola’s Environmental Action Club.
Lana has been in communication with groups with similarly environmentally friendly goals, such as BEElieve, CCSJ, Campus Ministry, and MOSAIC. All of these groups support a healthy ecosystem as a necessary part of social justice and human rights.
“Climate change will unquestionably lead to societal breakdown and perhaps global extinction unless society takes immediate and drastic action,” Lana said.
Lana and her fellow club members, will be sending a letter to their president to explain their concerns and requests for drastic change in fossil fuel investment.
The urge for immediate change is something Towson University students can also get behind.
“The fossil fuel industry is fueling our current climate crisis, which is already having devastating impacts on our communities, economies, and Earth as a whole,” said Nic Koski, a senior at Towson leading the student group “FossilFreeTU,” a club focused on creating and maintaining a sustainable campus environment.
“We from Fossil Free TU have just sent a letter … to TU President Kim Schatzel asking for TU to fully divest from fossil fuels,” Koski said. “We hope to be hearing back from her by November when we will also be working with the TU Faculty Senate to pass a bill on this urgent issue.”
A small group of faculty, staff and students, including Koski, formed the campaign “FossilFreeTU” last spring to advocate for TU to fully divest from fossil fuels.
As Towson preaches to be a green and environmentally friendly campus, Koski discovered his university still has major indirect investments in the fossil fuel industry.
“It doesn’t make sense for TU students and faculty to support and profit from an industry that is destroying the things we value most,” Koski said. “As students, we have an incredible amount of power to make change at our schools, which makes huge waves throughout the broader community.”
Many college students organized walkouts and groups to join in and help spread awareness of the dangers that climate changes may introduce. The Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) was one of the several student groups that represented their school to attend the march.
“Providing students the opportunity to express the desire for MICA to be a leading institution in sustainability felt like a natural response as the global climate strike gained traction across the globe,” members of MICA’s student group said in a written statement.
Activism on global warming has become a trending topic in recent news. MICA students have been encouraging students to spread the word about the impact climate change has on a worldwide scope, the group said.
“Climate change and its effects are so connected to other issues we face as a nation, that it is
imperative we take action as a collective, especially now,” the student group said. “We are so close to creating irreversible damage to the planet, its flora and fauna, and it’s people.”
Eimer’s organized rally also caught the attention of many politicians in Baltimore.
“[They] were impressed by the protest, and other organizers and I are currently in conversations with the mayor’s office about how to implement sustainable solutions in Baltimore,” Eimer said.
Eimer said many students have told her during and after the rally that many of them were now fired-up. Climate change is becoming a major topic of discussion and is finally being seen as a global emergency, she said.
“Climate change is threatening humanity’s very existence,” Eimer said. “Its intersection with other issues such as discrimination, population expansion, and political partisanship is proof of its importance.”
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