Students are advocating for change, now McMaster needs to listen to them
C/O Lewis Parsons on Unsplash
By: Alexandria Peacock, Contributor
This past Friday over 175 students participated in the McMaster Climate Strike. The goal of the strike, aside from raising awareness about climate change, was to push for divestment here at McMaster University. McMaster currently invests about $22 million into fossil fuel companies, which are the leading greenhouse gas emitters.
On March 4, McMaster President David Farrar released a statement asking the Board of Governors to create a concrete plan for divestment within a specified timeline. This demand for a clear timeline and action plan for divestment was the primary goal of the McMaster Climate Strike. The strike was endorsed by several faculty societies and the McMaster Students Union which represents over 20,000 undergraduate students.
The demand for change is clear. We are well aware that climate change is the biggest threat of the 21st century and that action needs to be taken now and not in some vague future. If this strike has shown us anything, it is that the students are prepared to fight for change. So why has it taken this long for the university to commit?
According to a representative from Mac Climate Advocates, one of the many clubs here at McMaster which seeks to raise awareness about climate change, the Board of Governors has yet to respond to the strike. It may have only been a week since the strike, but the issue of divestment is not new. In fact, discussions concerning McMaster’s investments in the fossil fuel industry have been ongoing for the past five years.
Although the Board has recognized the need for divestment, they have yet to commit to any concrete plans on how this is to be achieved. It’s disheartening to see that our school, which is supposed to empower students to speak up and foster an environment in which we feel that our voices are heard, has chosen to ignore our demand for change.
McMaster claims to be committed to creating a “brighter world” and it is evident that the students of this school are more than capable of carrying out this legacy. But while we have the power to demand change, it is those who run this institution that are in the position to actually do something about it.
I am proud to be part of a community of impassioned students capable of inspiring so many others. Last week’s strike is only one of many strides made by students here at Mac to combat climate change.
The fight for divestment did not begin nor does it end with this strike. According to a representative from Mac Climate Advocates, the McMaster Climate Strike team will continue to raise awareness about this issue and put pressure on the administration until they commit to a legitimate and achievable plan for divestment.
As cliché as it may sound, we are the future and I am glad to know that our future will be led by dedicated and passionate students that continue to fight for a better world. I can only hope that the Board would agree with me.