By Kai Jackson
As climate change is beginning to be taken as a more serious issue, Purchase NYPIRG is addressing climate change with a strong agenda this semester.
In mid-September, members of Purchase NYPIRG held a meet up with students where they discussed the status of climate change and how students can take action. The night was one of the first significant meet ups held by Purchase NYPIRG of this semester and it was crucial for members at the meetup to articulate their goals, concerns and objectives to the student attendees loud and clear. The meet up took place in the Commuter Lounge across from NYPIRG’s office in Campus Center North.
Project Coordinator James Accordino opened the discussion with updates on early voting and the Climate Leadership Community protection Act, a NY bill passed that will set significant environmental standards. The bill aims to increase the use of renewable energy and set limitations on greenhouse gas emissions.
As stated by Accordino, the new bill “is a start” but will “not be enough.” Accordino warns that we may have up to“10 years to curb global warming.” NYPIRG does however considers the new bill as a “victory in fighting the climate crisis.”
During the discussion, Accordino also touched upon the rollback of the Clean Water Act. Others have expressed concern that the rollback on the Clean Water Act could remove protection from smaller bodies of water and intermittent streams.
Accordino then touched upon ways we can get our voices heard listing protesting, advocating and “yelling off rooftops.” Accordino also mentioned the importance of art and activism.
At a special point in the discussion, NYPIRG board member and student Yasmeen Vargas stepped up to speak about her experience with art and activism as well as her own artwork. Vargas presented images of her own artwork which expressed her feelings on the climate issue and injustice. Vargas also expressed concern about how “we are being disconnected from the earth.”
“Once we get connected to the roots, the soil, the seeds, the plants and the animals we will become more connected to ourselves and each other,” said Vargas when asked about her message to the world.
Wednesday’s meeting also attracted one student who is taking the Philosophy of Environment course at Purchase and also has had experience with activism in high school .
“It turns what I’m thinking into action,” said the student attendee.
Also present at the meeting was Green Team leader Morgan Bred-Green, who plans to expand membership and focus on doing local actions and allowing students to feel that they can make an impact on campus. The Green Team is a frequent collaborator with Purchase NYPIRG.
The meeting encouraged involvement as students were able to participate in activities addressing the climate crisis. Activities included drawing poster designs, games and a mock phone booth where students could call Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office and voice their concerns on the climate issue.
Members of Purchase NYPIRG also assembled with protesters at the NYC Climate Strike that took place at Foley Square on Sept. 18.
CORRECTION: The previous publication of this article incorrectly stated James Accordino talked about the California lawsuit against Trump, it was not filed until two days after the event.