Crusade on Climate Change
The People’s Climate Movement has organized a march in Washington, D.C. on April 29, the 100th day of Trump’s presidency, to oppose his recent actions. This march hopes to help illuminate the highly important issues of climate change and environmental inequity, which have repeatedly been denied by many of the politicians currently in power.
Some of the goals of the march, according to its website, are to “advance solutions to the climate crisis rooted in racial, social and economic justice…[and] fund investments in our communities, people and environment to transition to a new clean and renewable energy economy that works for all.”
“We will come together from across the United States to strengthen our movement. We will demonstrate our power and resistance at the gates of the White House,” states the website.
Packer is one of about ten New York City high schools traveling to Washington on April 29 in buses organized by NY2X, a New York-based coalition founded by high schoolers that focuses on environmental justice. Eve Berrie (‘18) joined NY2X in her sophomore year, and is the Packer coordinator for the organization’s trip to the march.
“A lot of minorities and low-income groups are strongly affected by climate change, and the industries that are destroying our Earth, and so it’s not just about the environment—it is also about the people and about who it’s affecting and about our health as a people,” said Eve.
When Becca Horwitz (‘18) stood up in front of the high school on Community in Action Day and asked students to stand if they had ever been afraid for our Earth’s future, confusion seemed to briefly ripple through the Chapel. The previous students on the stage had asked questions about feminism, race, and other “typical” identifiers. Becca’s question, and the initial response it received, highlighted the lack of discussion and attention surrounding environmental issues within Packer.
“I think Packer does a good job in understanding climate change, but when people think of the prominent issues I don’t think climate change is high on their list,” said Becca, who is a leader of Earth Club and is helping Eve organize the march. This sentiment was echoed by both Eve and Ray George (‘19), another leader of Earth Club who is attending the march.
“I am hoping that the climate march will show our government, as well as our Packer community, to some extent, that climate change is extremely important and that if we don’t do anything, it will become our number one problem,” said Becca.
Environmental activists like Becca, Ray, and Eve hope to show that climate change is intertwined with other, often prioritized, issues. Recently, the leaders of Earth Club made a presentation drawing attention to the intersections between racial discrimination and environmental issues. The examples given included the currently unsolved Flint water crisis and the excess pollution in neighboring Detroit, both of which are based in black-majority cities.
Within Packer, social justice issues are frequently discussed, but if climate change is continually ignored, all of that advocacy may be for naught.
“All of these gender, racial, sexual orientation discrimination issues, all the progress we have made and all that we have fought for, will be laid waste to if there is no Earth for people to live on,” said Ray.