By KYLE KITTREDGE
Students attended a Student Environmental Action Coalition meeting that featured the Climate Reality Project, a nonprofit environmental organization, letting students know about climate change and how they can make an impact.
The event was held Tuesday for the campaign that focuses on mobilizing students across the US and around the world to demand a strong global agreement from President Obama and other world leaders at the United Nations COP21 Paris climate talks in December to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
The Climate Reality Project works to solve the current climate crisis through various grassroots actions.
Joan Cannon, the UNH campaign organizer for the Climate Reality Project, gave insight into what they have been doing at UNH.
“We’ve been talking to students in short class presentations, letting them know how they can get involved with volunteer and internship opportunities with our campaign on campus.”
This organization will have an event on Oct. 2, involving many other student and community organizations, called Know Tomorrow, hosted by SEAC.
Attendees at this meeting were introduced to the campaign and its objectives, including a short video of other students around the world voicing their concerns about climate change. Then, they broke up into small groups to brainstorm ideas for the different areas of the campaign.
The project’s goals include educating students about the importance of the COP21 Paris climate talks and that they can make a difference in the type of agreement made at this conference, by adding their voice through actions such as signing a petition and attending the on-campus events.
“COP21 is important because it’s where our world leaders gather to make a global binding agreement to cut greenhouse gases,” Cannon said, “so whatever commitment is made here will affect every single person on this planet.
“I want to help UNH students and millions of other people around the world raise their voices in demanding our world leaders commit to a strong agreement at COP21 so we have a healthy, sustainable planet for future generations.”
SEAC coordinator Kelsey Lozier, a sophomore environmental conservation and sustainability major, agreed that students’ voices are important.
“Climate change is a very serious issue that our generation is inheriting, and it’s a huge issue and becoming worse,” Lozier said. “But it’s not an unattainable fight.”
Other students felt the same way, leading them to get involved in the campaign.
“When I found out there was a program similar to that at UNH I immediately was super excited and wanted to become a part of it,” freshmen environmental engineering major Julie Settembrino said.
“My main goal is to make people realize the importance of climate change because I think it’s really easy,” Settembrino said. “We’re always boxed up in our own little towns and little houses that we don’t see the catastrophic devastation due to climate change in the ecosystem and that’s hard to see on a level where it’s just yourself.”