Maryville College joins global climate strike

On Sept. 20, Maryville College will be joining the Global Climate Strike, an international movement of workers and students demanding action to prevent further global warming and climate change. Maryville College students will be leaving class to walk from the Clayton Center parking lot at 11:30 a.m. to New Providence Presbyterian Church.

There, various speakers from the University of Tennessee and other local institutions will be sharing information and their views on climate change. American Sign Language interpretation will be provided. 

Climate change and the debate over its legitimacy has been a prevalent issue for decades. Although the Earth’s climate has and will naturally change throughout history, the rate at which our current climate is changing is alarming to many. 

According to NASA, the “current warming trend is of particular significance because most of it is extremely likely (greater than 95 percent probability) to be the result of human activity since the mid-20th century and proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented over decades to millennia.” 

Climate change activists around the world participate in events such as the Global Climate Strike in efforts to slow the human activity producing such vast effects on the climate.

“I think it’s really important to stand up to this issue because it’s not necessarily just a political issue, it’s also a mortality and humanity issue,” said Maryville College freshman and head organizer of the walk-out, Donia Lehman. “If we don’t do something—if our youth doesn’t get informed on this—then who’s going to take up action? Who’s going to do their part?”

Because climate change has become a point of contention, many political candidates use climate change as a tool to gain voters. In part, the Maryville College climate change walk-out event hopes to gain the attention of political candidates who may be tuning in. 

“I feel like if the people want [climate change justice] and if we have enough people to do it, then senators are going to start thinking, ‘Oh yeah, this is what the people want,” said Lehman. “We could get someone elected that’s actually going to make a change.” 

“We can’t change things all on our own, but I really hope that we can start changing the minds of politicians and senators trying to get elected.” In the spirit of  “doing good on the largest possible scale,” Lehman addressed the need to leave the world better than we found it. 

“It’s not only affecting our generation but the ones that come after us too. It’s really important that we make sure we leave this planet as perfect as we can,” Lehman said. 

The Global Climate Strike is officially happening between Sept. 20 and 27, but the organization encourages everyone to take action in efforts to reduce the effects of climate change all year round. For more information about international Global Climate Strike events and on how to get involved, visit globalclimatestrike.net.

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