Durham- Last Friday, Thompson Hall (T-Hall) Lawn at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) was bustling with dozens of organizations protesting for climate change action at a climate strike hosted by the UNH Sustainability Institute. All the organizations there had one common theme: each were passionate about saving the environment.
T-Hall Lawn was a site to see; colorful signs of protest pressed against tables and a myriad of tables from the New Hampshire Outing Club (NHOC) to Topanga Canyon Vintage. Dozens of smiling faces gathered to protest climate change together. The Sustainability Institute held this Climate Strike, inspired by Greta Thunberg’s “Fridays for Future” climate protests. Lauren Carita, an intern at the Sustainability Institute, said that the biggest takeaway she wants people to have is to “understand that people can make a change,” Carita said. As an environmental conservation and sustainability major, Carita said she is interested in taking action as environmentalism folds into larger social issues such as inequality, social justice and social welfare. She is most interested in UNH’s energy sourcing and that being a part of The Sustainability Institute has given her many opportunities within the community. Carita wants to “give the broader message of the global Climate Strike.”
Jacob Alberga, a representative from the New Hampshire Youth Movement said he showed up to the Climate Strike because he’s “watched nature slowly degrade.”
He said, “knowing that 100 corporations are responsible for 71% of climate change” inspires him to take environmental action.
Alberga believes in the importance of getting involved with organizations such as the NH Youth Movement’s whose mission is to allow young people a platform to reshape the political
system that has left so many people behind. Alberga says that he is focused on the political system at the state level, to implement change in favor of the environment. His goal is to be a voice for young people as they deal with the environmental neglect of older generations.
Helena Demartin, an employee at sustainable thrift store Topanga Canyon Vintage,
said that their mission is to create sustainable fashion. According to the owner of Topanga Canyon Vintage, they strive to promote clothes that are body and gender-inclusive. “We try to do all three missions together,” they said. “Those being “climate, gender and body inclusivity.”
Brooke Healy and Mo White, members of the NHOC, said that they want to “make the outdoors accessible.” The NHOC facilitates trips for students to get outside and go on outdoor adventures. Healy and White said that they “want to get people outside.”
“Some people don’t take advantage of the outdoors,” said Healy. They came to the Climate Strike to share their club to get more people involved with the outdoors and to care about the environment. Cory Petix, a marine biology student, said she was at the Climate Strike because she’s passionate about the environment. Petix and her friend Jill Mapley protested “Fridays for Future,” inspired by Greta Thunberg on Main Street in Durham every Friday last semester. Petix said that it felt good to do something positive for the environment, as bringing awareness is the first step to climate action. Petix said her favorite slogan she protested during “Fridays for Future” was “Our Planet, Our Future.”
Seeing dozens of clubs come together in support of taking environmental action was an inspiring day for the UNH community. A day driven by the young environmentalist, Greta Thunberg, has clearly led youth to act around the world. March 25 was another successful event on the UNH campus and beyond where students have taken steps to mitigate the environmental crisis.