April 30, 2017 – The Penn State student groups Eco Action and Fossil Free PSU organized a bus to send 55 participants to the People’s Climate March in Washington D.C on Saturday, April 29. The march is part of the larger People’s Climate Movement to urge the government to address issues relating to climate change.
The march began at 12:30 p.m. near the Capitol, traveled up Pennsylvania Avenue, and then surrounded the White House Grounds. The march ended at the Washington Monument where everyone rested in the shade while listening to music and speakers.
“The 2014 Climate March in New York City inspired me to take action. I wanted to share that inspiration with others,” said Maddy Nyblade, president of Eco Action. Three years later, Nyblade, Lucien Simpfendoerfer, Alison Kelly, Arin Lewis, and Zak Kalp organized for this climate march. A total of 30 small private community and organization donations covered the trip cost. “It truly has been a community effort and I am grateful for the support” said Nyblade.
“This march is particularly important because it gives the planet a voice. A voice allowing people to unite and to share their story. A voice to fight corruption, resource exploitation, and the degradation of our ecosystems. A voice that has empowered me to fight for the planet,” said Alex Curtze, a Penn State student studying environmental science.
Zachary Kalp, an undergraduate student studying political science marched because “Congress and the President need to make climate change a top priority. We cannot sit back and do nothing.”
“I marched because I care about the future of our planet and environmental justice. I wanted to be part of democracy in action,” said Nicole Brunozzi, a Penn State student studying community environment, and development.
For many students, this was their first march: “It was my first march ever and I loved every second of it! To see so many people who care about the things that I do gave me hope,” said Seo Choi, a Penn State junior studying architecture.
The voices of Penn Staters joined a diverse chorus of protesters united in tackling climate change, and promoting an economy that works for jobs and the planet. The People’s Climate Movement included over 50 organizations, from environmental organizations, to racial and economic justice groups.
“My favorite part about the march was seeing just how integrated the crowd was. This reminded me that we have so much to learn from those who came before us, and that we have so much to teach our peers and those younger than we are,” said Alyssa Gurklis a Penn State student studying community, environment, and development.
“It was an amazing experience I will never forget. Standing and marching side by side people across generations and backgrounds to proclaim loudly that climate action is needed now was exhilarating and inspiring,” said Ash Gillis, a PhD student in social phycology.
While reflecting about the march on the bus ride back, many students decided to take this energy home: “I will bring the energy back to my community and lead others to take action with me” explained Penn State student Laurene Roup.
“I am excited to go back to PSU and back home to spread the march’s energy to other people,” said Andy Cook, a Penn State student studying civil engineering.
“I hope everyone turns this energy into action,” said Nyblade. “Young people must to speak up because it is our time to lead. The country and the world needs us.”