Sunrise Tulane advocates for climate policy change

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Sunrise Tulane’s leaders conduct a meeting over Zoom | Courtesy of Sunrise Tulane

Emily Rubino, Staff Reporter

Climate change has been a highly debated topic on the congressional floor in the past few years. Many students have been getting involved in the global movement by lobbying for the passage of climate control bills on the local, federal and state levels. Teen activist leaders like Greta Thunberg have made headlines for attempting to hold leaders accountable for their climate change policy and motivating fellow members of Generation Z along the way. Among the increasing number of students advocating for climate change legislation is a group on Tulane’s campus, Sunrise Tulane

Sunrise Tulane is a youth-led organization that began in the summer of 2020. The organization focuses on taking action against climate change, specifically on climate justice. 

Founder Alex Pearlman decided to create Sunrise Tulane this summer when he heard of the National Sunrise Movements throughout the United States and was intrigued that it was a youth led organization. 

“Sunrise Tulane is Tulane’s hub of the National Sunrise Movement, and the National Sunrise Movement is a youth led political organization that is working to get climate justice policy passed at local, federal and state levels, but it especially focuses on climate justice as it intersects with racial justice as well as economic justice,” Pearlman said. “We believe that in order to fit the climate justice effectively, we need to center the communities that are disportionately affected by the climate crisis and that includes Black communities, Indigenous communities, that includes lower income communities.”

Sunrise Tulane aims to educate students on the effects of global warming in Louisiana and all across the country. Louisiana and other areas of the Southern U.S. have faced a tough hurricane season this year. Sunrise Tulane believes the current administration is poorly handling the climate change issues, embodied by the hurricanes, wildfires and rising temperatures. Sunrise Tulane is stepping up to inform legislators that they need to focus on the serious effects of climate change now, before it is too late. 

Sunrise Tulane has organized a climate change protest for this Saturday, Oct. 3. The protest is called “Wide Awake.” It will target Steve Scalice, minority whip for the Louisiana House of Representatives, in order to educate him on how climate change is hurting Louisiana and the gulf coast. 

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“National Sunrise Movement and Wide Awake actions have been happening across America for the past few months, and mainstream media just will not pay attention to it, and there have been protests at Thom Tillis’ house in North Carolina, Lindsay Graham’s house in South Carolina [and] Diane Feinstein’s house in California,” Pearlman said. “This is not just Republican or just Democrat, we are standing up to both parties and saying look enough is enough we need change, look at the fires, look at the hurricanes. We need change.”

“This is not just the future; it is right now, and climate policy needs to happen right now,” Pearlman said. “We will say to the representative that we are wide awake to what is happening and you need to be wide awake too. We do not care about your partnerships. Look at what is happening to your state, be our representative.”