More than 60 Ohio State students took part in a Climate Reality Project event at the Browning Amphitheatre Friday afternoon to declare action on climate change as a part of the nationwide Know Tomorrow rally.
The student-led effort joined OSU with more than 50 universities that participated across the country to not only raise awareness about climate change, but also educate and engage students.
Participants spoke and heard from several speakers, played trivia games and enjoyed free Chipotle at the event, which brought together Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project, the Defend Our Future organization and the OSU chapter of the Sierra Club.
The rain may have washed away the chalk drawing of the Earth on the amphitheatre stage, but it did not dampen the passion exemplified by the crowd of students advocating for a clean, healthy future.
OSU students at the Know Tomorrow event were asked to join students across the country in adding their names to a petition, calling on world leaders to enter into the climate change agreement at this year’s upcoming 2015 UN Climate Change Conference in Paris.
Marie McConnell, a first-year in environmental science and a Climate Reality Project campaign member, spoke at the event, saying the campaign was determined to not let the upcoming UN summit “slide under the radar.”
“We’re going to hold our world leaders accountable,” she said. “We, as a community, as students here at OSU, as citizens of planet Earth, are going to come together in this campaign and make our voices heard.”
Speakers included Marie Landekhovskaya, a strategic consultant who worked with the Environmental Protection Agency, and Geoff Dipre, a Byrd Polar Research Center representative, who spoke about the global impact of diminishing Arctic sea ice.
Jonathan Kubesch, a second-year in environment and ecology, said he heard about the campaign through the environment and natural resources scholars, as well as chalk drawings around campus.
“I would like to see Ohio State reduce its environmental impact as a whole,” he said. “I want to transition grasses into food production. I want to see some files switch over to digital … these changes would lessen the waste of useful resources.”
Robert F. Kennedy Jr., artist Shepard Fairey and Ian Somerhalder, from The Vampire Diaries, were among the prominent figures who joined in the nationwide effort, tweeting and livestreaming their thoughts about the importance of climate action.
The Know Tomorrow campaign participants nationwide were encouraged to tweet about what was happening at their local event, resulting in #knowtomorrow to trend on Twitter. President Barack Obama released a letter thanking campaign participants for their work protecting the country and planet from the effects of climate change.
“As we face the growing impact of extreme weather and a changing climate, we must join in common purpose to confront this threat and safeguard our world for generations to come,” the president said in the letter. ”I hope you continue to dedicate yourselves to shaping a more resilient and sustainable future and to driving our country’s progress on climate change in our time.”