Several student environmental organizations led a climate strike demanding climate action and clean energy on campus, they also announced the formation of a new student environemtal coalition, Friday afternoon.
The organizations also distributed petitions containing three key demands– have the University of Wisconsin run on 100% renewable energy by 2050 and have 100% of UW’s electricity come from renewable sources by 2030, open UW’s Sustainability Advisory Council meetings to students and have a plan in place from the sustainability Advisory Council by the end of January 2021.
Organizers encouraged participants to sign the petitions which will be delivered to Chancellor Rebecca Blank next week.
UW junior and executive board member of Campus Leaders for Energy Action Now Marina Minic said what the overall goal of the petitions were.
“We’re specifically fighting for the university to transition to a hundred percent renewable energy,” Minic said.
UW’s recently released Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System report revealed that of the energy campus consumes, 1.6% comes from renewable or clean sources. Minic referenced the STARS report, saying that UW has the lowest score in the big 10 when it comes to sustainability.
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UW sophomore and Sunrise Movement Madison hub member Molly Kehoe said that all the organizations were able to unite on the goal of renewable energy despite the dfferent work each org does. The Sunrise Movement focuses on public policy surrounding climate change, such as the Green New Deal. While Kehoe supported the organization’s goals, she had her own reasons to be a the strike.
“Anything I can do to help people understand what’s going on and also bring as many different orgs together from all across campus,” Kehoe said. “Everyone’s supporting this to show our elected officials what we care about.”
UW junior Thomas Lavery led the strike in a number of chants. These chants included, “people power” and “this is what democracy looks like.”
UW senior and social justice intern at the MultiCultural Student Center Emi Lopez announced the formation of a new environmental organization on campus, Wisconsin Student Climate Action Coalition. WSCAC was formed to unite all other environmental orgs on campus.
Minic said every Friday from now on, there will be a Fridays for Future protest on Library Mall, a movement started by the 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg. Kehoe also said their efforts would not cease until changes were made.
“I just hope that people, with every protest that happens, everything that occurs, I hope people take us more seriously,” Kehoe said. “And understand that America isn’t going to settle for less, especially the youth on campuses like this. We’re here, and we’re not going to be happy until we see some serious changes.”