The University of Maine Climate Action organized a climate strike last Friday on the University Mall as the student-run club makes a return to host Fridays for the Future on campus.
Fridays for the Future began by Greta Thunberg in Aug. 2018 to rally young people to participate in climate activism. The main theme of the strike on Sept. 23 was prioritizing people over profit.
“Here we are again today joining Fridays for the Future in solidarity with the people all around the world striking for climate justice,” said Tamra Benson, a fourth-year biology student and one of the group’s core organizers.
Roughly 20 students gathered together to sing, chant and march. Several individuals spoke and expressed the need for students to get involved in local climate activism.
“As many of you know, we are in the middle of a nationwide food shortage during a global pandemic that has led to the death of millions, as well as a period of unprecedented American corruption in our government. On top of this, we are faced with another crisis that is making us decide what kind of country we really want to be. We are all still in college which means we have the voice that nobody else does. We have the voice of future generations. We have the voice of the people who will actually bear the cost of climate change,” said Cameron Nelson, a third-year political science student.
Ilaria Bardini, a third-year marine biology student, described how she has seen changes in her own community. Human-caused climate change impacted the oceanic ecosystem near her home, and she noted the few numbers of mussels in the water.
“The reason I’m striking right now is because a bunch of little actions adds up to a big impact,” Bardini said.
Last spring, the UMaine Climate Action, formally known as Divest UMS, achieved a campaign goal of demanding that UMaine remove all investments from the fossil fuel industry. The group changed its name after its success to reflect its evolving mission: equitable climate justice for all. Although the University of Maine System has divested, the group expresses that there is still much more work that needs to be done.
Some of the club’s new goals include on-campus composting, getting renewable energy resources and focusing on Indigenous sovereignty.
UMaine Climate Action hosts meetings every Friday at 5 p.m. on the fourth floor of Colvin Hall.
If interested in joining the club, email firstname.lastname@example.org.