Students against climate change

Rachel Basela, Life & Arts Editor

In the rise of political outcry from younger generations looking to combat global climate change, individuals in the Oakland University community have organized a group to make this possible.

The Faculty, Student, Staff Alliance for Climate and Environment has brought students and staff alike to discuss how to prevent damages of climate change at OU and the surrounding area. Three students from the organization came forward to share the reasons they wanted to join the group and take action.

Kayla Sharpe expressed her desire to speak to politicians in the community on making changes with the ways people and businesses treat the environment.

“Students have been at the forefront of almost every movement in history, and the issue of climate change has shown to be no different,” Sharpe said. “Whether it be at the campus-level or the corporate-level, students must be the squeaky wheels pleading for change. Our politicians work for us, and the louder we get, the more likely things will change.”

Many young people have been advocating for change in their cities to try to gain attention from the government. The Extinction Rebellion has been doing this since 2018, and some OU students are looking to replicate this type of movement on campus.

Steph Wong reminisced on her youth and when she first heard of climate change. She then shared her concern for the future of the planet.

“Climate change is something I’ve been interested in since eighth grade, when I did an essay on it and it was still known as global warming,” Wong said. “It’s just that nature was here long before we were, and will be here long after. It’s unfair of us to come in and make a mess of things without thinking of the animals and plants and planet, much less other humans. 

“Society, and I feel like the US in particular, is so obsessed with immediate gratification, and we really need to consider the consequences and future if we even want humans to live to see a future.”

The threat of the destruction of the earth by climate change has been pressing on the minds of recent generations for years, as the issue took hold before they were born. Now, many young people feel that the responsibility to call for environmental justice is put on their shoulders.

Sarah Bdeir also came forward to express her worry for the state of the earth and those who inhabit it.

“Climate change is one of the few problems in the world that truly affects everyone,” Bdeir said.  “We can no longer wait for others to take action, but we must start trying to make changes within our own communities. If everyone thinks their small change will not make a difference, then nothing will ever get done. We need to emphasize the importance of one person making a change, because we truly can change the world if we work together.” 

One common theme between these students is their desire to keep pushing forward in the war against climate change.

 “I want to keep fighting,” Sharpe said.