Adrie Rose: Pushing the Five Colleges to do better on climate emergency

Friday, October 18, 2019

On the first day of the Global Climate Strike, a coalition of students, staff, faculty and community members from Extinction Rebellion Western Massachusetts, the Sunrise Movement, and more, presented demands to the Five Colleges calling on them to address the escalating climate emergency.

The Five Colleges play a major role in our region, in our state and in the lives of thousands of young people. These institutions have taken some steps to address climate change, but given the magnitude of the crisis, further efforts and greater transparency are required.

We call on each of the Five College institutions to address the following demands during this academic year, and we are partnering with students on each campus to customize these demands. Tell the truth. Declare a state of climate emergency. Act now. Develop comprehensive plans with community input for complete divestment and carbon neutrality by 2025 and provide transparent communication and reporting on progress toward these goals.

A Five College body composed of students, staff, faculty, and community stakeholders will develop and oversee plans for responding to the climate emergency. Pursue a just transition. Mitigation and adaptation efforts should prioritize the people on campuses and in communities who are most vulnerable to the immediate and long-term impacts of the climate crisis, including youth, people of color, indigenous peoples and poor communities.

Prepare your students for the future. All students must be educated on environmental science and how the climate emergency will affect their careers, their lives and the lives of other people on our planet. We will continue to demand urgent action on the part of the Five Colleges and bring these issues to public attention through rallies and nonviolent civil disobedience.

The Five Colleges must recognize the facts and alarms raised by thousands of researchers around the world and within our community and stand with other institutions fighting for a future of social and environmental justice. We look forward to conversations about these demands and building relationships with campus and community leadership. Read our full letter of demands at xrwesternmass.org/five-colleges.

Adrie Rose