Last Friday, teens around the world — including Westmont students — participated in a global climate strike following a week of discussions within the United Nations about what can be done to combat climate change.
Westmont students became actively involved with the week of climate events after a panel of professors spoke last Tuesday on the DC lawn about the scientific, theological, and social ramifications of climate change.
Biology professor Jeff Schloss spoke on the local impacts of climate change. The professor explained that “Beachfront homes [will be] gone,” and that the changing climate will lead to the “demise of South Coast agriculture.” Dr. Schloss also stoked concerns over the growing impact of wildfires, stating that there will be, “larger wildfires than the largest we had last year.”
Religious studies professor Sandra Richter also spoke on the issue of climate change, asking the question, “What should Christians say about climate change?” Dr. Richter went on to explain the historical lack of action by Christians against climate change, but stated that “the paralysis is fading.”
Dr. Richter also described the Christian motivation for action, describing the Christian vocation as being “tenant[s] of God’s good land.”
The social ramifications of climate change were described by sociology professor Meredith Whitnah who appealed to “our common humanity,” speaking of the need to be drawn together when pressured by dire circumstances.
This pressure culminated last Friday, when teenagers and college students marched across Santa Barbara, displaying their concern for the Earth’s future. The goal of these protests is to pressure politicians to take action and implement policy solutions for the rising tide of climate change.
The protestors marched down Anacapa toward De la Guerra Plaza on Friday morning, chanting, “Hey hey, ho ho, climate change has got to go.”
Evan Shernberg, a member of Santa Barbara High School’s Green Club, stated that “we only have one future, and it’s important that we fight for it.”
Although the majority of protestors were still in high school, voter registration tables were set up in Girsh Park where those unregistered yet old enough could become voters to make a more direct impact on local, national, and global policies.
UCSB student and member of Sunrise Movement Santa Barbara Winter Sierra stated that “the people who don’t have the right to vote now are the people who are going to be affected.”