Letter to the Editor: ESA will strike on climate

Last month, Amazonian fires billowed over much of the South American rainforest as the rest of the world watched in horror. Most were set by man’s own hand, and our world’s lungs paid the price. Fire has become a symbol of how fast our climate is warming, how fierce man’s involvement in environmental degradation is and how apocalyptic the coming years could be. 

Fire doubles as evidence of a movement. One student can spark others to rally for climate action. Those students can spark a university to make sustainability a priority. That university can instigate statewide change and statewide change can be a model for a nation. A single spark can do so much damage, or so much good. 

Fire consumes oxygen. It pulls air from a room so that anyone near its embrace has no choice but to watch it grow. Likewise, the global environmental movement must become so huge that world leaders have no choice but to listen and make change. The combined force of student, parent, corporate and government action can be a monumental man-made fire that changes the face of this Earth. 

For centuries, Native American peoples used fire to decrease the risk of larger fires and to instigate growth in ecosystems. The fires were useful and cyclical; they were small but great. Within the global environmental movement exists small controlled burns that rapidly amplify a community and seek to keep the coming climate disaster from devastating more forests, more homes and more futures than it already will. 

Today, as President Carol Folt is inaugurated as USC’s first sustainability-minded president and the city shines a light on our community, students will gather at Tommy Trojan from 3 to 4:30 p.m., joining thousands of students worldwide who are refusing to remain idle as our Earth pleads for survival. Our goal is as follows:

In line with the Climate Strike Movement, we are striking for aggressive and urgent climate policy action that greatly reduces greenhouse gas emissions and ensures equity and justice for marginalized communities.

With your voice, with your time and with your ambition, join us in supporting a future of regrowth. Our world can persevere through man’s harm, but not if we continue to wait for someone else to make things better. It is up to all of us to ensure that our generation, our kids’ generation and myriad generations after will have a safe Earth to call home. The fire is burning. You can be a part of the fire that takes life away or the one that seeks to reinstate it.

Tianna Shaw-Wakeman

With support from USC’s Environmental Student Assembly, Environmental Core and The Citizens Climate Lobby