UCI students participate in climate strike and introduce petition

By: Christina Acevedo

A student-led climate strike took place by the UCI flagpoles and Student Center on March 15 as part of a larger global movement meant to draw awareness to climate change. Student leaders including Gianna Lum, president of UCI’s Climatepedia club, participated in the strike, which featured a variety of speakers and introduced a petition that is now available for signing and presents a series of demands to UCI.

“We decided that one of our main focuses should be to have more cooperation between the city of Irvine and the university,” Lum said.

“We’re really not connecting with the outside world enough and we need to connect with our local governments and have more influence in order to have a better litigation strategy on climate change.”

Listed among the demands are requests for better communication between UCI and the local government about climate change solutions, increased efforts in educating students and faculty about climate change, and an attempt to speed up the implementation of UCI’s Climate Action Plan (CAP).

CAP is UCI’s roadmap to a variety of climate protection projects designed in alignment with UCI’s sustainability policy; it aspires to achieve climate neutrality by 2050 as well as reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2020.

The climate strike began with a student march from the UCI flagpoles to the Student Center and back. Students carried handmade posters while chanting “zot up, zot down, keep fossil fuels in the ground.”

Afterwards, those participating in the strike congregated around the flag poles to hear Angelica Hernandez, a UCI Law School student, acknowledge the indigenous land that UCI stands upon today.

Speakers also touched upon topics such as the need for continued action after the strike, environmental racism and water access in Palestine. Thematically, the speeches prompted consideration of climate change in a large context that affects not only the environment and animal species, but also people.

To conclude the strike, students engaged in one final march as well as a chalk activity in which those who attended the strike left messages on the stairs by the flag poles.

According to Lum, approximately 200 people participated in the strike, so she sees the event as a solid starting point.

“Now we can go from here and start implementing the changes that we’re asking for,” she said.