Leading up to the Global Climate Action Summit next week, people from all over South Carolina came to the Rise 4 Climate, Jobs & Justice rally on Sept. 8 to bring awareness to issues and educate students.
“I think young people have a tendency to think that issues don’t affect them, but for issues like climate change, we’re the generation that’s going to be most affected,” said second-year political science student Ethan Magnuson.
Students such as Magnuson stopped by the various tables to hear how each individual organization is making a difference. The idea of creating change inspired some to create change on their own.
“So, it’s come upon us to take our own interests to heart and come out here and get involved, show politicians that we care and that we’re going to come out and vote and that we’re going to try to make a difference,” Magnuson said.
The organizers and leaders of climate organizations were happy to educate the stream of college students coming through. Some students were excited about impacting the climate for good while others were curiously passing by. Regardless, students are the generation preparing to handle the climate changes the world is facing.
Queen Quet, chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation, is the headliner for the rally. She came from the low country barrier islands to speak about how climate change directly impacts her people both physically and culturally.
“We have to talk intergenerationally so that the people who are going to be the leaders in the future that set this up will have a continuous thread,” Quet said. “And so that we’ll have people that are already geared up for action that speak intelligently to this issue because it is those that came before the college students that caused a lot of damage we’re trying to undo.”
Quet wants the United States to take responsibility for damage leading to climate change in order to have a positive impact on future lives.
“I’m here because I am standing up with the rest of the country for climate change to actually try to enact some real change and have some equity in justice in terms of what the country does overall so that we can make sure that we take care of the quality of life of people that are in this country,” Quet said. “And I think it’s very important that we realize that without the environment there will be no us.”
Several environmentalist organizations set up tables to share their goals for South Carolina and the world when it comes to protecting the environment. One of those organizations is Oceana which hopes to protect sea life and create cleaner waters.
“Our main focus is stopping the expansion of offshore drilling to the Atlantic coast, which as we all know would be terrible for the South Carolina tourism industry, fishing industry as well as really dangerous environmentally,” Oceana representative Samantha Siegel said. “We need to be reducing our dependence on oil and instead use clean energy alternatives like wind and solar.”
Rise 4 Climate, Jobs & Justice is part of a national movement of climate rallies that leads up to the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco on Sept. 12. This is connected with the 2016 Paris Agreement. Queen Quet will speak about the Gullah/Geechee people at the summit in hopes of enacting real change impacting her people. She hopes that organizations and students alike will work to influence their area in the world and make it a better place for the future generations.
“My mom always told me charity begins at home and then goes abroad,” Quet said.