By Maddie Cullerton
The Union College Environmental Club celebrated an International Day of Action on Sunday, Oct. 10. Organized by the environmental advocacy group 350, the so-called Global Work Party consisted of over 7,300 events in 140 countries.
From putting up solar panels on the President’s home in the Maldives to cleaning up the stream right here at Union College, the Global Work Party was meant to rally activists worldwide to combat global warming and to send a message to our leaders.
Starting at 12 p.m., Union students gathered and spread out across campus with a variety of goals. One such goal was to spray paint the storm drains with the message “No Dumping, Drains to River.”
The tag aims to raise awareness of where our drains lead and the potentially harmful effects that dumping can have on the local ecosystem.
Students also participated in a trash clean-up along the campus stream, the Hans Groot Kill. Armed with trash bags and gloves, volunteers picked up cigarette butts, beer cans, plastic cups, and other litter.
“I think this is a good thing to do and a good thing to take part in. I’m really happy to see Union doing something like this,” Kinzey Johnson ‘14 said.
The Global Work Party sought to not only work locally on climate change, but to also send a political message that actions should be taken to fight global warming through legislation.
“If we can get to work, you can get to work, too,” states the 350.org website referring to leaders’ ability to make a difference by passing laws that help lower the world’s carbon emissions to 350 parts per million.
[pullquote]“If we can get to work, you can get to work too!”Bill McKibben, 350.org[/pullquote]
Other events worldwide included fixing bikes, planting trees, and setting up solar panels.
“I think it’s wonderful that we are participating in the Global Work Party, even though we weren’t taking on a big project,” co-president of Environmental Club Meghan Haley-Quigley ‘11 said. “I think it’s important that we took some type of action, that there was great turnout, and hopefully this collective action does encourage our political leaders to take a stand.”
Beyond 10/10/10, 350.org hopes that people will continue to fight. Their website offers courses of action such as calling politicians, raising more awareness, and getting more people to join the movement to lower carbon emissions.
“10/10/10 is an important jumping-off point for putting this growing movement to work so that we can better demand the kind of change that will get us on the path back below 350,” the website says.
Visiting student Noelle Olsen from California commented on the success of the event.
“It’s really cool to see that this is going on all over, in California and here, and I’m glad to take part in it and think that if we keep this movement strong, things will start to change,” Olsen said.