Strikes for Sustainability

Strikes+for+Sustainability

Junior Anya Gandavadi Speaks on Youth-Led Climate Strikes and their Impact on Students

A record of 7.9 million people took to the streets in Sept. 2019 to protest government and business inaction on climate change the biggest climate mobilization in history. These strikes, led mostly by young people, reflect a growing public awareness about climate change and its effect on the global population.

“I cannot emphasize enough how much the media has brought awareness to the young generation,” climate activist and junior Anya Gandavadi said. “I believe it is because we see [climate change] affecting us so close in our future. Eloquent speakers like Greta Thunberg have used appeals to our emotions in order to make us feel a personal connection with our planet, and realize the fact that we have no future if the earth has no future.”

Gandavadi points out that this issue is one of great urgency. If it is not addressed soon, the world as we know it could be at stake.

“All the ongoing research is pointing to an imminent deadline, by which time, if we don’t make some radical changes, there is no turning back,” Gandavadi said. “This is not to say there isn’t hope. Although it is very easy to lose hope with how the media portrays the issue, the damage we have created is reversible if and only if we act swiftly.” 

Many people fail to recognize this urgency that young people like Gandavadi are trying to instill within the public consciousness. 

“I think it stems from a place of indolence,” Gandavadi said. “Many people wait until something is deemed ‘urgent’ before they make a change. Even with that flawed reasoning, we’ve known for decades that this would become an urgent issue, yet no significant action has been taken by the people who have the power to do so. We live in a society where it is ever so easy to ignore the problem at hand because it fails to affect us on a day to day basis, but that will soon cost us.” 

Unfortunately, as Gandavadi points out, too many policy makers care about additional checks from agricultural and fossil fuel industries than they do about the frightening effects of global climate change. 

“Our country’s political agenda does not have its priorities straight,” Gandavadi said. “It strives for short term wealth and power, which are meaningless in the face of long term destruction and desolation. As Americans, we need to be the ones to set an example of how to affect change and take responsibility for our actions. The current administration has worked against over 84 environmental rules including leaving the Paris climate deal and eliminating the Clean Power Plan. In such a critical time for action, this many [steps] backwards is something we really can not afford.”

In the face of all this political turmoil, Gandavadi points out that students who are concerned about the environment can become politically engaged to prevent climate change.

“First and foremost, your vote matters,” Gandavadi said. “We have to take that right very seriously. Learn about your candidates and see who is serious about the issues of climate change. They are going to be in charge during a crucial time and can influence our future more than imaginable. And even if you can’t vote, you can still campaign and encourage those who can.”

Gandavadi, who has been making eco-conscious decisions for as long as she can remember, encourages others to do the same. 

“I try to make smart decisions and talk to as many people as possible,” Gandavadi said. “At home, my family and I have always been making environmentally conscious decisions. I protest and raise awareness. I donate to organizations who are actually in the field and do the dirty work. I try and communicate with future leaders, and hopefully, if we all do our part it will be enough. We don’t have the choice of waiting and seeing if this is a problem that we really need to fix because before we know it, the damage will be irreparable.” 

 

Anya’s Tips For Being More Eco-Conscious

Be smart about the things you buy. 

Are the companies you buy products from conscious of the environment?

Are you purchasing single use products?

Are you endorsing big corporations like Nestle that deforests at an exponential rate for palm plantations? 

Remember we vote EVERY DAY with our dollars. 

Stay on top of the situation and stay educated. 

Talk to your friends. My friends now know what they can buy me, and it has led them to be more conscious of their personal decisions too. 

Don’t beat yourself up if you slip up.

It’s doing your best and doing your part that’s important! 

Consider a career in environmentalism.

A career in this is where we can make the most impact. Something you can do is also follow the environmental club, we welcome you!

 

Climate Change Activists to Follow:

(As listed by Gandavadi)

Greta Thunberg if you haven’t already. 

Holly Gillibrand

Isra Hirsi

Sunrise Movement 

Youth Climate Movement 

SustainUS

Greenpeace 

Xiye Bastida