In honor of Earth Day, Kenyon Democrats and ECO partnered up to organize a “Walkout to Save the Earth”. On Monday, around 30 students gathered in front of Rosse Hall to call for action to stop climate change.
Jessie Gorovitz ’20 came up with the idea of the walkout. “I decided to organize this rally because I feel like even people who might not consider themselves to be activists are starting to pick up on that this is a situation that we’re going to have to deal with for the rest of our lives,” Gorovitz said. “It’s our responsibility now to either encourage other people to take action or take action ourselves.”
Gorovitz noted while this issue may seem daunting to approach, especially under the current presidential administration, it is important to engage with it on every level of government.
“So [it’s] not just being worried about what the president is doing, but talking about what your mayor is doing and talking about what your local elected officials are doing or at the statewide level, because cities actually have a lot of control over how environmentally sustainable they are,” she said. “Just little things like that end up significantly reducing waste happen at the local level.”
Jackie O’Malley ’21, co-president of ECO, emphasized that climate change affects everyone and that at its core, it is a humanitarian issue. She called for people to make politically conscious choices, especially during a time when the U.S. is one of the only major countries to opt out of the Paris Climate Agreement.
“These are issues that impact our community, but these are also issues that disproportionately impact the people who don’t have the ability to do things about them, so thank you all for being here and I hope that you keep getting involved throughout the week,” she said at the walkout.
Both O’Malley and Gorovitz noted that climate change is an issue that needs communal attention and collective action. To help reduce pollution, students can engage in simple community-oriented activities like studying in groups, turning lights off and taking shorter showers.
Audrey Mueller ’22, who is involved with Kenyon Democrats, said she attended the walkout because she thinks protesting is an important part of bringing attention to the issue.
“I think that climate change is probably one of the biggest and most pressing issues that we are facing at the moment, and we’re kind of running out of time in which to act, so it’s really important to me that the federal government and other governments start changing policies so that we can avoid the worst effects of climate change,” Mueller said. “I think the first step of that is demonstrating as citizens to show the government that we care about this.”
For the walkout, ECO made a variety of signs from recycled material that displayed environmental statistics, such as “51% of all greenhouse gas emissions come from livestock and their byproducts” and “12.6 million people die annually from working in polluted environments.” After the event, students hung up these signs in Peirce Hall for the whole campus to see.
ECO also organized a mug drive and a zero-waste day, put a clothing exchange bin in Peirce and challenged student organizations to see who could get the most people to sign the “Live a more sustainable life” pledge.
ECO, Kenyon Democrats, Every Vote Counts and Kenyon Young Democratic Socialists of America also prepared an informational pamphlet about where different presidential candidates’ stand on environmental issues. In the spirit of conservation, students are encouraged to take a picture of the information and return their pamphlets for reuse.