The United States is one of the top producers in the world of global greenhouse gas emissions. We have a huge responsibility as citizens of this country to help mitigate climate change and it’s effects on the most vulnerable people around the world. Change needs to come from citizens urging the current administration to change its ways, before it’s too late. 16 year old Greta Thunberg has dedicated her life to fighting climate change and has led protests around the world with students gathering to show how important this issue is. Knowing that she could make a big impact by spreading her movement to America, she sailed (literally, sailed to avoid the emissions associated with air travel) here from Sweden to spread the message that we need to do something about climate change, and that we need to act now. Greta calls for our action on the climate emergency, stating “I want you to act as if your house is on fire”, depicting the urgency of the climate movement.
The activists of MaryPIRG’s Fossil Free UMD campaign are no strangers to advocating for renewable energy to help mitigate climate change. Just as we are trying to make change by lobbying the administration on campus to transition from natural gas to renewable energy, we will be joining Greta and countless other young people in advocating for change in the nation’s capitol this Friday. This massive public resistance will be the first step towards ongoing action on climate, and we are urging other students to join in to create a network that will continue to take on the government and polluters.
To spread awareness about the upcoming strike, Fossil Free UMD has been tabling to let students know the details about the strike and how they can access materials to send to their professors to let them know they will be missing class. Fossil Free coordinators and volunteers have also been encouraging students to pledge they will join the strike with a photo petition, and will continue to canvass students the week leading up to the event. This Thursday, MaryPIRG is even holding an art build the night before the strike to help students make signs and banners to carry during the action. Groups like the SGA Student Sustainability Committee, the Sustainability Cooperative (SCoop), Creative Resistance, and other student orgs are collaborating for this event taking place from 5-7 in the Baltimore Room in Stamp on Thursday.
We will be joining UMD’s SCoop (Sustainability Co-op) along with many other students to participate in the climate rally in DC on Friday, September 20th. We will meet on McKeldin Mall at 9:30am and mobilize student strikers to walk together to the College Park Metro station to head downtown. Students are encouraged to send emails to their professors asking to be excused from class that day to be able to join in this important rally, and to spread the word about the strike. More information on the UMD action can be found at ter.ps/umdfff.