DePauw Joins Forces With #ClimateStrike

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A large globe appeared on campus last Friday in Stewart Plaza covered with slogans like, “This is our only home” and “Eco not ego.” While students had the opportunity to add their own graffiti and post photos with the globe on social media, the true purpose of the installation was to raise awareness for the upcoming #ClimateStrike.

On Sept. 20 at 11:30 a.m. in Stewart Plaza, students from across campus will gather and march to Greencastle City Hall. The following week on Sept. 27, the strike will continue, this time heading from downtown Greencastle to the center of DePauw. 

The purpose of this strike, according to James Mills, professor of geoscience, is “to create more awareness locally, statewide, nationally and internationally” about the effects of climate change.

In addition to the march itself, he said, “We hope to have tables set up in Stewart Plaza on both Fridays with petitions and addresses to local, state and federal legislators.” These will provide students with more opportunities to make a difference in the fight against climate change.

DePauw students have largely led the organization of the climate strike. Maggie Keller, first-year Environmental Fellow, became involved with the strike because she is  concerned for her peers and herself. 

“Climate change is truly affecting the future, and our generation is the future, so we need to take charge and do something about it before it’s too late,” Keller said.

The youth-led march is not only happening on DePauw’s campus. #ClimateStrike is an international movement spearheaded by Swedish sixteen-year-old, Greta Thunberg. Her initiative, also titled #FridaysForFuture, aims to make regular demonstrations to support  climate justice policies. Thunberg said, “People are no longer willing to continue with business as usual. Our house is on fire—let’s act like it.”

Kevin Howley, professor of media studies, elaborated on the deeper issues causing climate change. ccording to Howley, we have a system which “puts private profits above the public interest.”. Essentially, large fossil fuel companies have been swayed by short-term profit over the health of the planet for the past four decades.

So what can students do to help besides attend the strike on Friday? Keller advises, “Get educated on the opportunities to make change on our campus.” Here’s a sneak peek into some of the information that will be offered in Stewart Plaza on the Friday:

  • The Center for Spiritual Life is working towards starting a fruit orchard in Greencastle.
  • The Putnam County Public Library, along with Bonner Scholars, will be running a program this semester titled “Live Local, Think Global.” It will tackle climate change through a series of events and speakers.
  • Professor Howley  will lead a number of “teach-ins” in the weeks following the climate strikes to elaborate on the topic and get students thinking about their environmental actions.

The resounding message with the climate strike seems to be that action is needed—now. 

Mill said, “Students are facing a lifetime of changing climate that is going to require some very hard decisions on their part to deal with this.”