Campus groups have helped make the university a more eco-friendly place
Spring semester is coming to a close, and the weather thus far has been giving those leaving Athens a beautiful send-off. It has been an up and down year for environmentalism throughout the country, and OU is no exception. Overwhelming support for action on climate change peaked back in September with the People’s Climate March attracting over 400,000 people, including members of this community, to New York City demanding global action be taken.
On campus, the university has decided to switch off of coal and construct a gas pipeline that will keep OU on track for stopping the use of coal by 2016. At the very least, it is great that coal will no longer be an option, but the future of clean energy at OU and gaining any ground on the Climate Action Plan, set forth by the university, remains unclear.
There has been progress in furthering the conversation of what OU can do to no longer instigate or profit off of climate change. This includes the addition of an Environmental Commission on Student Senate, which set a proposal for fossil fuel divestment and a re-evaluation of the Climate Action Plan carbon neutrality goal of 2075. With a date no later than 2030, the founding of the group OUCAN, which is looking into and promoting clean energy on campus and many more initiatives that will help OU continue to improve environmental literacy.
Fighting for the environment is a fight for our future. Over the summer, think about what you can do to help bring about a safer and just future for all. Across the nation, students are conducting protests and sit-ins urging their institutions to divest from fossil fuels and invest in our future. It is time for us, the students, to bring this same passion to Ohio University. I know there will be many opportunities to become involved in environmental activism next year through OUCAN and the Sierra Student Coalition, and I ask that when you hear about these campaigns and the fight for our future, think about how you can help. Whether that is attending meetings, showing public support or thinking about what you can do in your day-to-day life to make a difference. Hopefully it is all three.
We all make an impact on the environment and it is up to us as to what that will be. To quote President Barack Obama, “This is the only planet we've got. And years from now, I want to be able to look our children and grandchildren in the eye and tell them that we did everything we could to protect it.”
I hope everyone has a fantastic summer, and remember that while fighting for a better environment is a must, so is enjoying the one that we have. Take some time to really appreciate your environment, wherever that may be, and it will become clear why we must fight to protect it.
To quote President Obama once more, “Today, there's no greater threat to our planet than climate change … climate change can no longer be denied, or ignored.”
Grant Stover is a sophomore studying English, a member of the Environmental Committee on Student Senate and a member of the Sierra Coalition at Ohio University. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or find him on Twitter at @grant_stover.