University Times (California State University Los Angeles), July 20th, 2007
A lot of people believe in us—us as in the college youths of America. Inconvenient Truth producer, Laurie Davis, is empowered by the notion that this age group can and will protect the future of the planet. She’s been quoted as saying that, “This generation will be the driving force in social change.” She wants us to become global warming activists and she wants us to do it now.
During the second half of April Davis and Sheryl Crow toured college campuses from Texas to Washington D.C. to encourage youth involvement. On their bio-diesel fueled bus, they spread their message that, “Federal inaction is no longer acceptable.” The main objective of the tour, other than encouraging on a personal level how to help the planet, but also to collect 1million signatures via their virtual march at http://www.stopglobalwarming.org to take to our political leaders.
At the present time 857,744 marchers from all 50 states have made their pledges. The amount is still under the 1million desired quota. With the effects of global warming happening throughout the world presently, the denial debate has decreased. 2007 has been breaking weather records worldwide in relation to climate changes: heavy rains in China, worsening monsoons in South Asia, flooding in England and Africa, the warmest spring seasons in several European countries ever, and shockingly cold summer seasons in some South America countries.
But how much has the action rate increased? As tomorrow’s future to what great extent is our generation really participating in driving these “social changes”?
On July 26, 2007, 200 student leaders from 33 states and Canada participated in a peaceful protest on the West Lawn of the United States Capitol as members of the Change It program. The program seeks to further train current college environmental activists in how to be effective leaders. Jeffrey Hollender, Program President, has said that Change It has an overwhelming response since the prior year of students interested in learning how to be world changing agents.
I see these examples of peers in my age group truly fighting for the cause and it’s exciting to see and hear about it. It all comes to a screeching halt when I turn to my own campus. Visiting the floor basin of King Hall, the hub of student organizations, I flip though the student involvement brochure and ask the secretary about an environmentalism club. With dozens of society’s and clubs, I’m dumbfounded when I can only be referred to an out of existence since ’93 Horticultural club, and a recycling committee. That’s it. Where’s the global warming concern?
Further shock waves hit stemming from the fact that the newly elected Associated Students Incorporated members—ASI Student Government—their only involvement in actual organizations is when clubs want money. Why aren’t they talking to us about changes that could or should be made to our campus? The mayor has pledged that Los Angeles as a city will do everything in our power to essentially be as “green” as possible. That ideology doesn’t appear to have reached the 90032 zip code.
Recyclable items continue to overflow trash cans next to blue recycling bins. We’re feet away from a neighborhood recycling plant yet on a daily basis three visible trash diggers are hitting pay dirt on plastics alone from the dorm dumpsters. And the Cal State LA bookstore freely gives out plastic bags—majority of the time not even asking if they’re wanted.
Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised. Maybe I should put down the new student organization packet that requires 30 signatures to get approval for a new program. Summer ’07 is my last quarter anyway. Outside I see twenty-something aged youths consistently approaching students to encourage them to sign petitions on numerous causes, and struggling to get attention. I’ve dodged them myself at times—these petitioners don’t always appear to care; they get paid based on the number of signatures. Still it’s a shame that we can have a club to respect practically every ethnic origin represented on this campus, but not one that promotes saving the land these heritages around the world reside on together.
Throughout the eleven week quarters tables are set up around campus raising awareness of political wrong doing. But no one has anything to say about the energy wrong doing happening on a daily basis on this school’s grounds I suppose. From useless motion detector paper towel dispensers that get stuck, and sensory doors that keep opening and closing, to ON/OFF heating and cooling power boxes versus temperature specific dials. Its freeze or fry all year round half the time in the dorms, I know from four years of residence there. With proven statistics showcasing the positive effects of lowering of temperature gauzes, does no one else want to get on housing back to give residents the option of energy conservation? Maybe it’s all falling on deaf ears.
Everyone may not sign various petitions or make the effort to buy environmentally safe products. Some students may continue to leave their computers on for days, if not weeks at a time. There are a lot of things the current classes of CSULA may not do; showcasing their stance if any, against the fight towards global warming as a united campus, appears to be just another thing.
© Aurelko | Dreamstime.com