World Fellows at the Jackson Institute of Global Affairs on Friday held a protest in support of Global Climate Strike — the largest protest against climate change in history, inspired by Swedish youth activist Greta Thunberg.
The demonstration, which took place in front of Sterling Memorial Library Friday afternoon, was the first of several events slated to take place in New Haven this week to help combat climate change. In addition to the World Fellows, director of the World Fellows Program Emma Sky, Yale College Dean Marvin Chun and around 100 other Yale community members attended the protest. At the event, World Fellow Alex Muñoz, along with Windham-Campbell Prize recipient Rebecca Solnit and the 10-year-old daughter of World Fellow Cristina Vélez Valencia, Amelia, emphasized the urgency of global warming and urged the Yale community to act now.
“Yale has to support the global demand to solve the climate crisis,” said Muñoz, who is an ocean conservationist for National Geographic. “We cannot be absent. We need to be a part of the solution actively.”
In an interview with the News, Muñoz said while World Fellows hail from different parts of the world, the group has “in common a great concern for problems like the climate crisis.” The Yale community must get together to “have any chance of solving this huge threat to humanity,” Muñoz said.
Following Muñoz’s speech, Amelia took the microphone and announced that “our life is at stake.” Politicians need to acknowledge the risk climate change poses on humanity, Amelia added. Solnit said climate change is the “most important issue our species has ever faced” and emphasized that the obstacles for change are neither economic nor scientific, but solely political. Following the speeches, event participants marched on Elm Street to the New Haven Green holding signs that read “There’s more trash in the ocean than there is at Harvard” and “Denial is not a policy.”
Students interviewed by the News said they felt urgency to respond promptly to climate change and wanted people in positions of power to listen to their voices. Miklós Veszprémi GRD ’22 argued that the University must allocate “1 [billion] of [29.4] billion dollars [from its endowment] for solar panels for all of Yale.”
World Fellow Nizam Uddin — who leads community integration at The Prince’s Trust, a British charity that raises money for the unemployed — said that advocacy against climate change is closely connected to his work.
“In the U.K., I work in social integration,” he said. “At its heart, it involves taking a niche issue, bringing it to the world, and creating a common language we speak. The climate crisis is not a big, distant problem. It’s our everyday — how we eat, interact and live.”
The Maurice R. Greenberg World Fellows Program is a four-month, full-time residential program founded in 2002 through Yale’s Jackson Institute of Global Affairs.
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