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Climate Strike: Erasing the Carbon Foot Print, Combating Big Corporations

By Talbert Toole
Lifestyles Editor

Members of the LOU community joined together in the Lyceum-Circle Friday to help promote the climate change crisis. Photo by Anna Grace Usery.

As the threat of the climate crises weighs heavy on the shoulders of environmental activists, hundreds of thousands of people around the world gathered Friday to stand in unity against the global phenomenon.

Joining in the fight against the crisis, LOU members gathered in the Lyceum-Circle on the University of Mississippi campus Friday with intent to bring the situation to the university administration’s attention.

Brenna Gardner, organizer of the strike, joined with UM Solidarity in facilitating the strike on campus. She said although many faculty, staff, students and administrators care about the climate, there is not an abundance of interaction regarding the situation between the groups. 

“We think it is really important to have one single event to show the administration there is a large base of people really interested in [the climate],” Gardner said. 

Gardner said one of the main reasons she and her fellow organizers decided to strike was to put pressure on the administration and that campus is not doing enough to combat the climate crisis, especially the carbon footprint which is a greenhouse gas (GHG).

In 2008, the university signed the American College and University President’s Climate Commitment. The partnership commits the university to conduct a greenhouse gas inventory. According to the Office of Sustainability, the reason the university signed the commitment was that “it was the right thing to do.”

However, Gardner said the university allegedly invests money into hedge funds that are entirely comprised of natural gas and oil stocks.

She said she hopes the university bears witness to the strike and begins a conversation to take action in years to come to redirect those funds into more sustainable industries. 

Andrew Boyd, a senior chemistry major, attended Friday’s strike and said one of his major concerns is the investment into big corporations.

“I think the governments need to do something, but it’s mainly big corporations,” Boyd said. “People contribute so less in the climate change but the big corporations are the ones who are responsible for the issue.”

Boyd said scientists continue to discuss the melting of the ice caps and a plethora of animals going extinct, and if society does not act now there will be nowhere to live or exist in 20 years.

Children joined the climate strike Friday advocating for change. Photo by Anna Grace Usery.

Recently, the United Nations gathered in New York City to discuss climate change at the UN Climate Action Summit. Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old Swedish environmental activist, sailed across the Atlantic Ocean where she delivered a speech to the UN.

“Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a massive extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairytales of eternal economic growth,” Thunberg said at the Summit. 

Thunberg continued and said, “the science is clear.”

Science already proved it that climate is really changing due to some of the things we do in the Earth,” said Korey Dillon, a senior biology major.

Dillion said he is supporting the strike and the climate crisis issue to save the environment and that society should be using the resources responsibly. 

Although the U.S. House of Representatives passed a piece of legislation to begin combating the crisis climate, The Green New Deal, the bill is in gridlock in the Senate. The Democrats have actively been advocating the deal and the climate; however, Republicans have been hesitant to either acknowledge the bill or that there is a crisis at all. 

Gardner said the issue should not be partisan. The only way to fight against this existential crisis is to make it a bipartisan issue and believe the science. 

Within five to 10 years, Gardner hopes the university, along with the world, will have come together and begun the processes of fighting the climate crisis and erasing the world’s carbon footprint. 

Hottytoddy.com intern Sima Bhowmik contributed to this report.

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