Photo Series: UWL Climate Strike

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Photo Series: UWL Climate Strike

UWL Climate Strike 2019. Photo by Carly-Rundle Borchert.

UWL Climate Strike 2019. Photo by Carly-Rundle Borchert.

UWL Climate Strike 2019. Photo by Carly-Rundle Borchert.

UWL Climate Strike 2019. Photo by Carly-Rundle Borchert.

Carly Rundle-Borchert, Photojournalist

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On September 20, students from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and community members from various backgrounds and beliefs, came together at the Hoeschler Tower for an eleven minute climate strike. This strike was the first of its kind to take place at UWL. Throughout the course of these eleven minutes, UWL senior Josie Talbert read off climate change fears submitted by UWL students. After each fear was read, the protesting students and community members yelled, “Hear our fear”.

The Global Climate Strike began on September 20 and will continue until September 27. “This week will be historic.” says the official Global Climate Strike website “In over 150 countries, people are stepping up to support young climate strikers and demand an end to the age of fossil fuels. The climate crisis won’t wait, so neither will we.”

Here is what UWL students and La Crosse community members had to say at the stike:

Lauren Dochnahl: “Even if you don’t believe in climate change you should at least treat the planet well. It’s our only planet. There is no planet ‘B’. That’s why I’m here; I want to advocate for our planet and for treating our planet in a healthy way.”

Gabrielle Geller: “My name is Gabrielle Geller and I’m here today because I fear the contamination and destruction of our ecosystems, of our water resources, that is already occurring, although the media doesn’t show all of the issues that are going on globally. People are having to move whole cities either because their water is too contaminated or they don’t have enough of it; it’s been completely depleted. These are issues that we have to face otherwise we are going to destroy our entire planet just because of the top one percent and the governments that have total control. The truth is the environment is just as important as the economy and the well being of everybody. If we don’t have a healthy environment we can’t have a healthy economy.” 

Isaac Eugster: “I fear for my future because I want to have children, but I can’t justify having children right now because I don’t know what their future is going to look like. I’m trying my hardest to make a change, and get people to understand we only have one planet and things need to get better.”

Ben Zess: “I’m the co-chair for Students for Sustainability, and I’m here because I really think administration needs to start addressing the issue of climate change and student support for addressing climate change.”

Kelly Flynn: “I’m also the co-chair for Students for Sustainability. I’ve have a lot of experience recently trying to make change with sustainability and it’s super frustrating because it seems like administration and overall legislatures aren’t giving the support they need to be and dont realize how urgent climate change really is. But being a part of this strike was really powerful and hopefully our voices will be heard.” 

Trisha Moore: “We only have one Earth and it’s extremely important we protect it. Otherwise we’re essentially killing ourselves.”

Reverend Krista Taves: “I am the Unitarian Universalist Minister in town. We are here because the core of our theology is to live in harmony with all of life and we’re not living in harmony with the world; and we are part of it; so we’re not living in harmony with our own selves. I’m here to be part of the ongoing movement to create environmental justice as a central pillar of our life, and to support the students who have been doing this amazing organizing work.” 

Jessica Koski: “I feel like administration at UWL currently isn’t doing enough to promote sustainability on campus. Last year we petitioned to get a sustainability coordinator here on campus and we were told ‘you know its a good idea, it could be beneficial; it’s just a matter of funding’. [Administration] suggested taking money out of the Green Fund Grant, which is what students use to get different sustainability projects started here on campus, to fund a sustainability coordinator position. Right now we feel like students are doing administration’s job, promoting sustainability on campus; and while we love the opportunity to speak out and try to make a difference on campus, as students we can only do so much. We’re supposed to be here to focus on our education, but instead we’re fighting for things that should already be provided for us by administration and the university.” 

Reed Amland: “The environment has been put on the back burner for a long time by everyone, and I think there’s a lot of support in our generation that wants change; people in power just aren’t listening to that. We need to take care of our issues here on campus first: we need more recycling, the food services can do better, and we’ve been petitioning for a sustainability coordinator. They’re just not listening to our concerns, so we’re just going to keep going at it.”

Kathy Van Maren: “I’m with the Sierra Club and help to get the city of La Crosse to pass a resolution in July that the city and the community would move from fossil fuels to renewable energy a hundred percent by 2050 or sooner, and would draw down carbon emissions a hundred percent by 2050 or sooner. Since the community includes UWL it would help us reach those goals if UWL had a plan and had a coordinator and were showing that they were dedicated to that. Eau Clair has been our model in the “Ready for 100 Resolution” for government; they already have a sustainability plan and a sustainability coordinator. I think if UWL had a sustainability plan for example they would not have removed Badger Street as an MTU bus route that went by lots of classroom buildings, lots of places where people hang out, eat. The ridership was pretty good then they shut that off and now the bus has to go all around the edge of campus and ridership has dropped. Busses are much more sustainable than people driving their cars and expecting us to pay for some place for them to park. There’re lot of reasons having a sustainability plan and coordinator would help. As they’re building and refurbishing buildings, having a sustainability coordinator would help with that. Just everything. Is there going to be a garden here? What kind of plants are we going to plant? Everything.”

Josie Talbert: “Based off of the amount of people that actually came it was really cool to see the energy that was here towards this whole movement. We didn’t have anything to go off of, like how many people would actually be willing to strike their classes and show up today. That was really cool; it was a pleasant surprise. We’d been planning the larger strike in La Crosse, but we wanted something specifically on campus so that our classmates could be involved. It was more accessible at the clocktower, and only 11 minutes so even if you had class you could still potentially come. The inspiration for “the fears” is just being a student, knowing people younger than us, and knowing how scared everybody is… through conversations in classes and learning about all of this on a daily basis. We wanted everyone to have the opportunity to be heard if they had something to say.” 

 

A transcript of the protest provided by Talbert is below.

Talbert: “Thank you all for coming to strike with us today. We are here for eleven minutes because The United Nations says we have 11 years left to change our way of life before climate change catastrophe.

As young people, we’re scared for our futures, and for the futures of everyone even younger than us. For the remaining minutes, we are going to read off eleven climate change fears submitted by fellow students. Then, maybe after a day of climate strikes all over the entire world—those in power will finally hear our call for change. 

After each fear, we would like you all to respond with: “hear our fear”

Lets try it on three

1,2,3 hear our fear

Ok now we want to be heard!! Lets try again.”

11 fears for 11 years 

1. Irreparable damage to ecosystems and species extinctions, disasters striking areas of those who contribute the least to climate change. -Maddie Loeffler 

All: HEAR OUR FEAR

2. “If I have kids, they won’t have a safe future” -Sam Hynek 

All: HEAR OUR FEAR

3. “Increased rainfall events will cause mississippi river flooding to worsen every year” -Courtney Baker 

HEAR OUR FEAR

4. “We pass a point of no return, and then people begin to panic.” -Alex Morris 

HEAR OUR FEAR

5. “I fear for those facing poverty, I fear another mass extinction, I fear for the future of my children and grandchildren, I fear war and civil unrest over food, water and other natural resources.” -Veronica Bauer 

HEAR OUR FEAR

6.“Our future kids won’t have a world to grow up in” – Bailey Augustine

HEAR OUR FEAR

7. “That my children will grow up in a dying world and there will be nothing I can do about it” – Emily Botten

HEAR OUR FEAR

8. The eradication of beautiful and important landscapes and species through human destruction and neglect. -Allison Bebe 

HEAR OUR FEAR

9. “Food shortages lead to further class division. I see a world where those in power can eat while the rest cannot.” – Anna Durall

HEAR OUR FEAR

10. “Loss of species that play key roles in our ecosystems” – Olivia Clark

HEAR OUR FEAR

11. “That our lives don’t even matter because the ship has sailed to save the planet” – Aaron Kosma

HEAR OUR FEAR

12. “No snow and the collapse of civil society as we fight for scarce resources” -Steve Swenson 

HEAR OUR FEAR

13. “What will happen to the earth when we’re gone? I am afraid for the suffering animals, humans, and life.” -Sydney Graff 

HEAR OUR FEAR

14. “I am scared that my kids will have a hard life because we neglected our planet and they won’t get the privileges and joys that we do now.” -Ariel Thomas 

HEAR OUR FEAR

15. “My Kids would have to learn about certain animals, like polar bears, in history books.” -Kambrie Prochazka 

HEAR OUR FEAR

16. “Big corporations have heavy influence in our government, preventing change in legislature.” – Jackson Talbert

HEAR OUR FEAR

17. “I am worried that I won’t be able to show my kids all of the aspects of our natural world that have shaped my life and who I am today.” – David Holmes 

HEAR OUR FEAR

18. “My fear is a world with increased fighting about borders, jobs, water and places to live. As sea levels rise, storms surge and people are displaced, I fear it may not bring out the best in humanity- Alysa Remsburg

HEAR OUR FEAR

19. “I’m worried about not having enough infrastructure and social safety nets to combat climate change, such as hurricane, wildfire and flood protection -Dalton Bahnson 

HEAR OUR FEAR

20. “My fear is that my children won’t be able to experience the vast hunting and fishing opportunities that I have been able to all my life. – Zach Wellman

HEAR OUR FEAR

21. “I fear for the people living on the world’s coastlines and how the rising sea levels will force them to relocate. I fear for the Earth’s biodiversity and the threats species face due to climate change.- Chelsey Sloan

HEAR OUR FEAR

22. “I fear for the future generations that suffer the consequences of climate change due to  our actions now. – Ben Laznicka

HEAR OUR FEAR

23. “My biggest fear regarding climate change is that it is becoming less morally responsible for me to have children. I don’t know what sort of imbalances our society will see under greater pressures of climate change, and I don’t know if I can justify subjecting more lives to live with the uncertainty that looms closer as months continue to pass with little significant action being taken by legislators. – Michelle Homan 

HEAR OUR FEAR

24. “Extreme weather destroying homes at an increased rate – Aaron Ruud

HEAR OUR FEAR

25. “Continued coastline degradation along with the loss of homes and economic loss with it – Jake Schuepper

HEAR OUR FEAR

26. “I am paranoid about the natural disasters that will arise due to climate change – Kristen Baranowski

HEAR OUR FEAR

27. “I fear my children and grandchildren won’t be able to experience the deep connection to nature like I have – Logan Knollenberg

HEAR OUR FEAR

  1. Massive Misery and loss of life. Famine, fire, flood, drought, disease, war.” -Avery VanGaard

HEAR OUR FEAR

  1. “I am worried about losing natural landscapes and harming my native animal population.” -Riley Staedt

HEAR OUR FEAR

  1. I’m afraid that years from now when I take a walk, a hike or a ride, mountaintops will be blasted from mining, no trees anywhere you look, and any sense of biodiversity and wonder in the world will be gone. – Megan Milbrath

HEAR OUR FEAR 

  1. “Dying from climate change. Whether it be from natural disasters or failure of governments not making changes soon enough and accelerating the planets death.” -Hannah Schaaf

HEAR OUR FEAR

  1. I don’t want to make this issue another generation’s problem and I don’t want my future children to suffer – Jessi Koski

HEAR OUR FEAR

  1. I have always had a great appreciation for the ocean and the resources we can get from it. It is a beautiful and unexplored area of our earth and I would hate to see it be ruined more than it already is and to see the beauty and biodiversity diminish. – Sam Roetering

HEAR OUR FEAR

  1. “I am afraid my life won’t be what I dream it will be because of the threat of climate change.” -Lauren Dochnahl 

HEAR OUR FEAR

  1. “I fear for the coastal regions (especially the poverty-stricken areas), and the economic effects of mass relocation.”-Gabe Ross 

HEAR OUR FEAR

  1. “I fear not being able to grow old due to perishing in the aftermath of the disaster which can and will decimate ecosystems, water supplies.” -Jazz Kratt

HEAR OUR FEAR

  1. “Most of my fear comes from the reactions of those in power and the disregard for the issue at hand. What will become of our government? How will capitalism quicken the decline of our earth environments.” -Megan 

HEAR OUR FEAR

  1. “I fear that my life will turn into one of the dystopian novels that we have all read about.” -Emalyn Bauer 

HEAR OUR FEAR

  1. “I fear that lawmakers will never accept the truth.” -Sydney 

HEAR OUR FEAR

  1. I am afraid we will care too late – Taylor Schaefer

HEAR OUR FEAR

Our 11 minutes is up now. We hope to see you all at the 5:30 pm strike. We will be meeting at Burns Park! If you’re going to the 5:30 strike, feel free to take a sign with you to bring to that.  Thank you for striking for the climate.

 

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