Ohio State students from several student organizations will be reaching to to their peers on the South Oval on Friday, hoping to educate them on an issue that went under the radar in all three presidential debates: climate change, and, specifically, the relationship between climate change and food.
Interactive solar displays and free food will be included at the “teach-in” event, which is part of a series hosted by Defend Our Future Ohio, a nonprofit, nonpartisan climate organization, that focuses on how climate change affects certain commodities like beer and coffee, as well as energy and food in general.
Amanda Mahaffey, vice president of the Defend Our Future student organization at OSU and a fifth-year in environment, economy, development and sustainability, said food is a major part of people’s lives, but its effect on the climate is often ignored.
“Finding good food in this day and age is like a research project, and so (we’re) introducing that to students who aren’t thinking about it, especially as OSU is trying to meet these sustainability goals regarding food,” Mahaffey said.
Section 7a of OSU’s sustainability goals states the university will “increase production and purchase of locally and sustainably sourced food to 40 percent by 2025.”
Another student organization involved in the teach-in is Real Food OSU, which aims to shift university food spending from industrial farms to local farms throughout Ohio.
Emily Evans, Real Food OSU president and fourth-year in environment, economy, development and sustainability, said her group, which is co-hosting the event with Defend Our Future and several other clubs, is calling for change at as many different levels as possible.
“We’re feeding 60,000 students every year (at OSU). We’re like the first step in building a new economy that’s based on compassion and not exploitation, and building people up and building the Earth up. So change starts with us,” Evans said.
Both Real Food OSU and Defend Our Future Ohio hope to inspire students to vote with the climate in mind.
“If we want (sustainable food), renewable energy, we have to think about that when we vote,” Mahaffey said.
She suggested one way to take action is to carefully choose where you spend your money.
“People don’t realize how impactful their choices at the grocery store are,” Mahaffey said.
Other student groups involved in the teach-in include Solar Education & Outreach and RenewOSU, which concentrate on renewable energy and fossil fuel divestment, respectively.
The event will be held from 5-8 p.m.