October 3, 2019

Adelphi Contingent Attends New York City Climate Strike

by Ela Schwartz

Thousands of people in New York City—and more than 7.6 million around the globe—took to the streets on Friday, September 20, as part of the Global Climate Strike to demand climate action as world leaders prepared to meet for the United Nations Climate Action Summit.

From left, Levermore Global Scholar first-years Ayanna Jernigan, Amanda Fraanstedt and Vanie Seecharan. Photo credit Melanie Bush, PhD, associate professor of sociology

Somewhere between 60 and 70 Adelphi undergraduate and graduate students—as well as faculty and staff—joined the throngs in Manhattan to make their voices heard. They departed from various railroad and subway stations to get to Lower Manhattan to march to Foley Square, where they heard a lineup of speakers and performances, capped by a closing speech from climate activist Greta Thunberg.

The Swedish teen decided it made no sense to go to school and prepare for a career and a future when “our house is on fire,” as she has stated. She began her Skolstrejk för klimatet—”school strike for climate”—a year ago. Her idea that there is no use in children going to school to prepare for the future when the planet is in the midst of a climate catastrophe and mass extinction has ignited from one young woman sitting in front of the Swedish parliament building to a global movement with thousands of children and adults “striking” from school or work.

Adelphi professors and administrators who attended the march included Matthias Foellmer, PhD, professor of biology; Aaren Freeman, PhD, associate professor of biology and graduate coordinator of the environmental studies program; Brian Wygal, PhD, associate professor and director of anthropology; and associate professors of sociology Deborah Little, PhD, JD, and Melanie Bush, PhD, the latter of whom brought 20 students from her Levermore Global Scholars First-Year Seminar. The students “are deeply concerned and thoughtful about environmental issues,” said Dr. Freeman.

Photo credit: Kelly Andreuzzi, first-year environmental studies major

Children’s Crusade?

Students carried signs with such statements as “Make Love, Not CO2” and “Youth Lead the Way.”

Kelly Andreuzzi is a first-year environmental studies major. “My motivation to attend the climate strike was for the future of not just myself, but for us all as humans, for all of the living organisms of this Earth, and for those of future generations,” she said. “The strike for me was both breathtaking yet heartbreaking. It was amazing seeing so many people gather in the streets and come together as one voice to send a message. On the other hand, most everyone there was a young person. The common age range seemed to be in high school or early college. It is heartbreaking to know that in this fight for the future only the ones being affected are taking a stand. While, yes, there were some older souls, the percentage of them in the crowd was lackluster.”

Photo credit: Tachfa Taenchiki

Keeping the Flame Alive

Andreuzzi said she was looking into attending Extinction Rebellion’s event on October 7 and encourages others to consider it as well.

Kathleen Watchorn, coordinator of programs and projects for the Division of Student Affairs, was one adult who attended. “I met many first-year students and was impressed with their participation at such an early time in their college experience—not even a full month as an Adelphi student!” she said. “I’m always buoyed by the enthusiasm, the vast number of participants who represent all age groups, racial and ethnic backgrounds. Hopefully, everyone will keep the flame alive and continue to fight for climate justice.”


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