On Friday, Sep. 24, Brandeis filled two buses of students and attended the climate rally in Boston, protesting for action against climate change. Professor Sabine on Mering (ENVS, GER) organized the trip with the help of student organizers, including Maggie Del Re ’23. Though the rally did not go completely as planned, Del Re believes that the activists were able to get their voice heard.
“It [the rally] was good,” said Del Re. “It was mostly organized by a group of high schoolers, so I found myself being very proud of them and their good work.” The protest took place at the Boston Public Gardens, but the attendees marched around the area. Del Re said that many had signs at the rally—hers read “If you breathe air, you should care.” Chants were also yelled at the event, with Del Re saying their favorite was “no more coal, no more oil, keep our carbon in the soil!”
Some attendees gave speeches to the crowd, said Del Re. “The organizers made a really good point of centering Black, Indigenous People of Color. I liked the speeches a lot. I think they chose some really good stories to share—both personal experiences and more broad opinions.”
The event wasn’t without issue, though. A group of anti-mask protestors was also in the area, and Del Re said this counter protest caused disruptions to the flow of the rally. “There was a counter protest. It was a counter protest for anti maskers … saying that making children wear masks is child abuse.” Del Re said she didn’t appreciate this interruption, especially because the climate rally was organized by high schoolers, who are children, and because “if we don’t stop climate change, there won’t be any more children.” She said the organizers of the event handled the situation very well, and did not allow it to ruin the day. Though these anti-mask protestors took part of the route, Del Re said that the organizers of the climate protest were able to reroute and still have a successful meeting.
Climate change is an important issue for Del Re, as they said they got into sustainability at a young age. “I think it’s important [to protest climate change] because though there are individual actions we can—and should—take to reduce our carbon footprints and live more sustainably; much of the problems we’re facing are on a larger scale than the individual. In order to make the kind of changes we need to see, we need to be targeting the people in power that can actually restrict the giant companies that are actually making the emissions.”
According to Del Re, there is usually a climate rally every September. She said that while there was not one last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, two years ago Brandeis had strong attendance at the rally.
To learn more about the fight against climate change and how to get involved, Del Re suggests checking out Brandeis Climate Justice. They are a campus club working towards divestment from fossil fuels on campus and other climate sustainability initiatives. Brandeis also recently launched a new Climate Justice, Science and Policy Minor that seeks to “prepare students to address the issues of climate change and social justice.” Del Re encourages anyone interested in joining the fight against climate change to get involved in any way they can. “There are things we can do to prevent the most disastrous consequences of climate change,” she says. “We can’t fix everything [about the change of the climate], but there are things we can prevent.”