OLIVER FOX/ SAGAMORE STAFF
Day of Action 2019
March 28, 2019
D-block: Social Action
Warm winters. Melting ice caps. Increased flooding. Climate change may seem too large to tackle, but Mothers Out Front and the Sunrise Movement are showing that solutions do exist and individual efforts do matter.
During the D-block assembly these two groups talked about what they have done to combat climate change and how students can get involved to help.
Deane Coady is a member of Mothers Out Front, a group of mothers and grandmothers who are fighting for a livable future. She said that although climate change is a serious threat to the environment, solutions exist that can avert the worst of climate change.
“The good news is that in the next five, 10, 15 years, we know there will be more good solutions because of emerging technology,” Coady said. “However, we have a time crunch. We have 10, 12 years to scale up many of these solutions.”
According to Mothers Out Front member Cathy Loula, some of the ways the organization has tried to help include educating Brookline residents through presentations, participating in the 2014 climate march in New York City and fighting to stop natural gas emissions. She said stopping leaking gas pipes is really important.
“Most of your homes are heated by natural gas, methane – 86 times more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide,” Loula said. “In Brookline, there are over 300 leaking gas pipes in the ground. Across the state of Massachusetts, there are over 15 thousand leaking gas pipes.”
Next, junior Yuna Sato talked about the high school’s composting program, which transforms the school’s food waste into healthy, nutrient-filled soil. According to her, the school is projected to compost 35 tons this year, an increase from last year. She mentioned that although this result is promising, it is up to students to keep composting in order for that figure to become a reality.
In addition to composting, Coady said that other ways to move towards a carbon-free future include using less heat, driving electric cars and changing one’s diet.
“The single biggest way is to modify one’s diet to include less meat, especially less beef. That is the big carbon producer in the world,” Coady said.
Finally, members from the Sunrise Movement stepped up to the podium. The movement is made up of young people who are trying to get political support to combat climate change. Sunrise Movement member Nick Rabb said that they are currently trying to get support from legislators to pass the Green New Deal.
“Three big things would come from this new deal: number one, 100 percent renewable energy in the US by 2030,” Rabb said. “Number two, we want to guarantee thousands of renewable energy jobs. And number three, we need to mitigate racial, regional and gender-based inequalities and protect and invest in our frontline communities, areas that are going to be hit the hardest by any type of climate disaster.”
Rabb also said that while students may feel like it is difficult to speak out about climate change in the face of the authority of older generations, it is crucial that they do so.
“It is important to feel like you can say something,” Rabb said. “You guys’ voice really do matter in this conversation – fresh opinions, very valid opinions that matter.”
G-block: Global Action
During G-block on Friday Feb. 4th, the Environmental Action Club hosted an assembly in the MLK room to educate the student body about global problems and solutions regarding the climate crisis. The guest speakers included Nathan Phillips, an ecologist and professor at Boston University, and Alfred Brownell, a Liberian lawyer and the founder and CEO of Green Advocates.
The assembly was the last of three assemblies held throughout the day and focused on global solutions to climate change rather than localized problems. The assembly looked to inform the student body of the dangers of climate change while also providing a call to action with presentations and personal stories.
Phillips opened the assembly with some short remarks about his feelings about the climate crisis and how he hopes the students will respond to their feelings.
“I have two feelings that are holding me at this time. One is that I am terrified of the global situation,” Phillips said. “At the same time I have feel that my life has more meaning to make the change happen.”
Phillips then said the need to solve the climate crisis soon is dire.
“We really need to cut our carbon emissions by almost 50 percent in the next 11 years,” Phillips said. “That is a very drastic measure that we must take.”
Brownell also said that there are many vehicles through which one can make change to better our world.
“I consider myself an environmental rights activist,” Brownell said. “I use human rights as an instrument to improve those rights.”
Brownell was a lawyer in Liberia for many years, particularly fighting for the rights of indigenous people who were threatened by deforestation from the palm oil industry.
“These people consider the forest to be more than just cover. It is their home, and it is their life,” Brownell said. “That was all destroyed by the palm companies.”
Brownell said his personal experience with the fight for climate rights came with danger.
“When I went after the big corporations and their bottom line they were forced to respond,” Brownell said. “This caused them and the government to conspire against me and make an attempt on my life.”
Phillips offered a call to action and a declaration of hope for those looking to fight climate change.
“The social bonding and the sense of empowerment that you get from working side by side is amazing,” Phillips said. “Yes it takes energy, but the return by feeling power you will reap huge rewards.”