On Friday, student groups at Yale came together to speak out against climate change. More than a dozen Yale student organizations gathered in Dwight Hall for “Know Tomorrow, Day of Action,” a day of student activism planned by Cool Globes, a national environmental advocacy group.
Roughly 50 other colleges nationwide held similar events. Rain forced the Yale Student Environmental Coalition to move the event from Cross Campus to Dwight Hall, where participating student groups manned booths on topics ranging from divestment to renewable energy resources. Wendy Abrams, founder of Cool Globes, said in an email to the News that the event enabled students to unite in their common goal: protecting the environment.
“Know Tomorrow is the voice of millennials speaking out in unison demanding action on climate change,” she said.
YSEC President Peter Wang ’18, whose organization coordinated the event, said Know Tomorrow, Day of Action brought together various organizations hoping to raise awareness of climate change-related issues at Yale, adding that the gathering featured free sushi and performances from students groups including the a capella groups Out of the Blue and the SOBs.
Wang said part of Know Tomorrow, Day of Action’s national purpose is to generate momentum for awareness about climate change — a mission made all the more important by the upcoming 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, which aims to help participating nations reach a legally binding and universal climate change agreement.
“Right now the most serious problem in the climate change movement is bringing people in different areas with different opinions together to fight this enormous problem,” Wang said.
Sarah Gomez ’18, YSEC’s events chair, said organizing the day of action at Yale involved months of work, including biweekly calls with Know Tomorrow’s national coordinator.
Though all participating student groups shared a common goal of combating global warming, they also used the day of action to advocate for specific issues within the broader climate change umbrella.
James Barile ’18, president of Project Bright — a renewable energy initiative at Yale — said the day of action gave his group an opportunity to familiarize students with the future of energy generation.
Hannah Malcolm DIV ’17 and James Cramer DIV ’17 represented two environmental groups: FERNS — Faith, Ecology, Religion, Nature and Spirituality — and Nourish New Haven, a conference held at the Divinity School concerning faith and justice.
Cramer said because many religions discuss the importance of caring for the world God created, he hopes to use religious texts to encourage individuals to focus on conservation and stewardship. Malcolm said even slightly religious people should view climate change as a moral issue informed by faith.
“This is something religious groups and people who have any kind of spiritual identity should take very seriously,” she said. “There’s also a degree of repentance that needs to take place. Religious groups should repent for the ways they’ve contributed to damaging the world.”
Tristan Glowa ’18, an organizer for Fossil Free Yale, -said the damage climate change has inflicted upon his home state of Alaska inspired him to join the organization and fight for climate justice.
Student attendance at the event was relatively poor, with no more than a dozen students not involved in one of the organizations present at any given time. Organizers attributed the low turnout to poor weather and the last-minute change in location.
Chase Ammon ’18, who is not a member of any of the student groups present at the event, said he decided to attend the day of action because of his professional aspirations as well as support for Fossil Free Yale’s efforts to push Yale to divest.
“I want to focus on climate change and land conservation both as a concentration and eventually a career,” he said. “I think the University has a moral obligation to divest, and that may not happen anytime soon, but if schools like Yale started to divest, that could start a ripple effect.”
YSEC was founded in 1986.