Tulane to take part in global climate strike

Sanjali De Silva, Senior Staff Reporter

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This Friday, students and community members will gather near the McAlister bell to join a worldwide climate strike. The Office of Sustainability has invited environmental groups to come together in an effort to bring visibility to the climate crisis and demand action. 

“The climate strike is a very important global event, and I am glad that Tulane students will be a part of it,” Liz Davey, director of the Office of Sustainability, said.

The strike is part of a global, week-long event aimed at ending the use of fossil fuels and winning climate justice for all. Speakers for the event include representatives from the Gulf Coast Center for Law and Policy, Bucket Brigade, Audubon Society, 350 New Orleans and Extinction Rebellion, as well as student speakers. Speakers will present from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and environmental campus organizations will table in Pocket Park all day. 

Organizers plan to lead a march from McAlister bell to The Commons at 12:45 p.m. as the Board of Tulane exits its meeting. 

Environmental organization Divest Tulane works throughout the school year to push Tulane’s administration to divest from fossil fuels. Divest member and junior Mackenzie Brown is a part of the team making Friday’s event happen. 

“The more people that are there, the better, the more impact it has, the more visible it is,” Brown said. 

Divest Tulane is calling on the university to remove any investments from fossil fuels and commit to making its stocks, bonds and funds open and transparent to all students. Taking Tulane’s current goals a step further, Divest demands that the university pledge to become carbon neutral by 2035 per the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s recommendations. Divest has also called on the state of Louisiana to stop backing the fossil fuel industry and commit to a just transition for fossil fuel workers. Finally, the group calls on Congress to pass a Green New Deal. 

In 2014, Tulane put forward a Climate Action Plan detailing the university’s plans to achieve carbon neutrality and reduce energy consumption. Masters student Hannah Cohen works at the Office of Sustainability and says she hopes to see the climate strike inspire administrators to take action

“They have started to adapt some of these goals, but it’s been slow-going,” Cohen said. “I think greater student outrage would be helpful in making a move forward and visibility of students who want to hold them accountable to those actions they set forth.”

The impact of the strike does not end with the administration. Brown and Cohen both emphasized the need for students to take part in the fight against climate change on an individual level. 

“I hope it sparks something in every person that sees it and that they think about what climate change and the climate crisis might mean for them … If they are not thinking about it every day then seeing [the strike] can make a difference.” Cohen said.