Southwestern University Climate Strike
On Friday, September 24th, a climate strike was held by Students for Environmental Activism & Knowledge (SEAK) outside of the McCombs Campus Center from 11:00 am until 1:00 pm, where various speakers and performers gathered to share their personal insights, knowledge, and art on the need for climate action. Students and faculty alike gathered around the flag poles to discuss the pressing climate crisis, create cardboard protest signs calling for climate action, and envision a more sustainable future that values the long-term health of our planet and, in turn, the living things that inhabit it.
SEAK is a group on campus that is concerned with environmental sustainability and seeks to open dialogue about broad environmental issues amongst both its members and others within the Southwestern community. Co-Presidents of SEAK Nafisa Nazeer and Noor Nazeer took the lead in organizing the climate strike as a part of a global day of protest organized by Fridays for Future, an international youth-led environmental justice movement. Fridays for Future reports nearly 2,000 different climate strike events across 101 countries on September 24th. Southwestern University’s Garden Club and the Citizens Climate Lobby, an international environmental group, were also present at the climate strike to educate Southwestern students on how they can get involved.
Prior to the event, SEAK invited students and faculty to participate in the event by sharing their knowledge, opinions, and art related to the environment. Speakers included Dr. Joshua Long, head of the Environmental Studies Department at Southwestern University, who emphasized the power younger generations have in imagining and creating a system centered on social and environmental justice, as well as Southwestern student, Sustainability Ambassador, and co-President of SEAK, Nafisa Nazeer, who recited facts about the climate crisis and discussed how to be a better climate activist. Several other students, faculty, and community organizers also participated in the event, sharing their personal insights on the climate crisis.
Sophia Trifilio and Spencer Overfelt performed a cover of Joni Mitchell’s Big Yellow Taxi to an audience of their peers. Since its release in 1970, Big Yellow Taxi has been an anthem for environmental movements with its anti-industrialization messaging and has been covered by many artists. Other students passionate about the environment gathered around the duo, listening intently on the cool fall day as Joni’s words poured through the air of the academic mall. The strike ended with a group chant. Collectively raising their voices to the wind, they chanted “there is no planet B!”
If you are interested in getting involved alongside other students in discussing environmental issues, SEAK meetings are held weekly on Thursdays at 8 p.m. in Olin 105, and they are a great way for students to start thinking about our individual lifestyle choices that impact the environment as well as broader, systemic issues that need to be addressed to dampen the impact of climate change. Everyone is welcome to attend at their convenience and have their voices heard during discussions about the environment amongst their peers. The Garden Club at SU has garden sessions on Wednesdays at 6 p.m. and Sundays from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. Both of these clubs present students with great opportunities to get involved with environmental sustainability here on campus.