Students plan trip to New York for Climate March

Sierra Club to subsidize buses

New York City will host the People’s Climate March Sept. 21, which participants hope will be the largest climate change march in history. The event will bring activists together from around the country, including many University students.

“A couple months ago, a wide variety of organizations came together to organize the March because this September, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-­moon is hosting a UN Climate Summit,” said Whit Jones, the campaign director for advocacy group Energy Action Coalition.

Many world leaders and heads of state, including President Barack Obama, will meet at the UN headquarters to create stronger plans for climate action.

“Time and time again [leaders] come together for summits and they haven’t really achieved the action on climate change we need,” Jones said.

Jones said he hopes political leaders will see climate change as an issue young people around the world care deeply about.

“Students on over 250 campuses have been organizing, at places like U.Va., to make sure strong delegations of students come,” Jones said.

The Climate Action Society at the University will attend the march. CAS aims to foster progress in activism, sustainable finance and renewable energy.

“U.Va. students support action on climate change, and we want to join the hundreds of thousands of others marching in solidarity,” said CAS founder Lia Cattaneo, a third-year College student, in an email. “The theme for the march is ‘Action. Not Words.’ We want to act. We want to be part of the overwhelming force supporting positive action on climate.”

Cattaneo said about 60 University students will make the trip. The majority will travel on one of two buses, leaving early Sunday and returning that night, with other students travelling by car Friday or Saturday to participate in additional events.

The Sierra Club is subsidizing the cost of the buses, but students will each pay $30 or $40 in other costs.

Last October, CAS attended the Power Shift conference in Pittsburgh, an assembly of youths seeking to make the issue of climate change a legislative priority. They founded a group to coordinate environmental efforts between Virginia colleges, called the Virginia Student Environmental Coalition.  

Additionally, CAS students worked to pass a resolution through Student Council in support of a green revolving fund at the University, which would loan money for energy efficiency and green projects with the returns from projects going back into the fund.  

“Since [the passing of the resolution], the Facilities department has begun to refer to the existing Delta Force program as a green revolving fund, and CAS is looking to get this project recognized on a national level,” Cattaneo said. CAS is also working with the Facilities department to examine options for renewable projects at the University.

The Delta Force program focuses on making existing buildings better and water conservation and more energy efficient.  

The People’s Climate March will begin in Central Park West and conclude on 11th Avenue. For those not in attendance, the event will be live streamed.

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