It is inarguable that humans are having an impact on the climate, and even the various departments within the administration of our climate-change-denying president back the rest of the science community. Increasing global temperatures, more frequent drought conditions and increasing mosquito populations will all impact our most vulnerable communities. Hurricanes seem to be becoming more frequent, directly threatening people who live in floodplains along the coast, as well as those who own oceanfront property. The impacts of human-caused climate change will only get worse and worse as time goes on, unless we act now.
However, individual actions only go so far. We need those in power, the 1 percent, those on the boards of corporations, those leading government agencies, those members of our legislative bodies, to all implement sweeping reforms such as net zero carbon emissions, an end to large scale factory farms and overall investment into green technologies. After all, climate change will impact them too. Massive areas of downtown Miami, summer vacation homes in areas such as Fire Island and the Outer Banks and some of the most beautiful coastline of the United States will be washed away, no longer suitable for development or be seriously prone to flooding. They will still have to deal with a climate refugee crisis, food shortages and decreases to air quality. Yet they will also be best equipped to deal with it, as they have the capital to move, the ability to influence government, to set policies which protect their wealth while neglecting those who need help and overall their quality of life will not change. For the rest of us, we will see higher food prices, higher prices at the pump, hotter summers and it will only get worse for future generations.
I don’t believe that climate change is humanity’s collective problem, but unfortunately we all need to act and work toward a collective solution. The only way to solve problems is to organize, mobilize and set clear goals and demands for those in power. It is very hard to feel like one has any amount of political power as an individual. We are subject to threats such as losing our job, failing a class or facing social repercussions if we participate in a strike or protest. That is why it is so important that we work together to protest and come up with collective solutions. Together we provide ourselves with a shield against repercussions.
The best example of this is today’s Climate Strike. After seeing student’s organize, the university senate has written a resolution endorsing the strike, saying professors should make provisions for those attending. Now is the time to follow through. We have a massive opportunity to make UConn a greener campus and positive impact the Connecticut community. This doesn’t just apply to climate change, any issue at the university can be addressed if enough students are willing to show up and protest. Parking, tuition, the bus routes, all are able to be addressed if we organize as a student body.
But in order to do that we need to start somewhere. That is why I am urging you to show up for the Climate Strike, starting at 9 a.m. on the Student Union Lawn. At 1:15 p.m. we will all march to Gulley Hall. If you are reading this before then, do your best to make it. The more students we have, the more likely the university will implement the policies we want to see. Bring a friend, or two or three! Hope to see you there.
Cameron Cantelmo is a staff columnist for The Daily Campus. He can be reached at email@example.com.