As the fight against climate change drags on, Cobbers have shown that they are ready to take on the challenge. On Friday, Sept. 20, Concordia students joined millions of other activists all over the world by participating in the global climate strike. The event was put on locally by the Red River Valley Democratic Socialists of America and joined dozens of other groups in cities across the world, all marching for climate justice. The protest was sparked by sixteen-year-old activist Greta Thunberg of Sweden, who has gained worldwide attention and praise for her dedication to resolving climate change. Activists of all ages gathered outside Fargo City Hall on Friday leading chants and demanding lawmakers to take action on climate change immediately.
Senior Allie Holt was just one of many Cobbers who participated in the strike. She proudly held a homemade sign and chanted along with the rest of the crowd, even leading a cheer with other Cobbers.
“It’s a big deal that there are a lot of students here, this is something that can’t wait,” Holt said.
She hopes that this strike will help inspire others to become more active in climate justice, especially if they see posts about it on social media.
“With symposium being all about free speech, and the responsibility we have to use it wisely, this is the perfect way to practice it,” she said.
Sydney Stock, a junior at Concordia and one of the leaders of the Student Environmental Alliance (SEA), hopes that the event will spark interest in a new generation. Stock is eager to get SEA more involved in events in the Fargo/Moorhead area.
“It was a good way to kick off the school year.” she explained.
Since the event took place so close to the start of the academic year, she expressed the difficulties of getting the details of the strike to the student body.
“We emailed the SEA members with information about transportation and directions, but we still wished we could’ve gotten the information across to more students,” she said.
Stock and the SEA team are eager to get more involvement from students from activities that are held on campus. In the past, they have done plant potting demonstrations, as well as a tree planting event. SEA also wants to help create more spaces where students can have open dialogue about the current state of our climate and learn what they can do to make it better. Stock said, “Climate seems to be something a lot of us have put on the back burner, and it’s important that we talk about what’s going on with our earth and what we can do to help.”
Dr. Ken Foster, a professor in the political science department, as well as a leader in the social activism department, is hopeful that the strike will help create more dialogue about this issue on campus, and throughout the rest of the world.
“The Climate Strike movement is a good way to get the issue in the news and to demonstrate visually that people want action on climate change. The fact that the core of the movement consists of students calling for action to protect their futures makes it potentially more powerful in terms of its moral message,” Foster said.
Foster gave a few ideas for students who want to continue the conversation on climate change. “Talk with people about climate change and about the need for people of different ideologies and opinions to work together to support policies, government officials and candidates for office who demonstrate a commitment to making positive climate change policy a priority.”
According to the news outlet The Guardian, an estimated four million people participated in the strike across the world on Friday, making it one of the largest of its kind ever. For students who are interested in becoming more active in the climate fight, SEA meets on Wednesday nights from 8-9 in ISC 241.