Ahead of Earth Day 2019, the Rowan Environmental Action League (R.E.A.L.), an environmental activist group known for their campus clean-ups, gathered in the Chamberlain Student Center on Friday to collect electronic signatures from students for their eco-friendly campus petition, dubbed the Rowan Climate Action Petition.
Along with the petition, members of REAL drafted a 9-page proposal for university President Ali Houshmand and other top Rowan officials to be given a more detailed outline of the group’s ideas.
One of the creators of the petition is Quinn McHugh, a senior mechanical engineering major and a member of the group.
“The petition highlights the disparity of climate change. In addition, we also included a number of suggested initiatives that we’d like to see implemented on campus in the coming years,” McHugh said.
Some of those environmental initiatives, which aim to improve the quality of life on campus and make Rowan a much greener school, include solid waste collection and proper recycling, energy-efficient lighting in new and existing buildings, a “dine-in” option to reduce food containers and many more.
Another member of the group, Gina Yaroli, a junior environmental studies major, handed out several dozen fliers that had QR codes for students to sign the petition from their phones.
“I am very pessimistic about how the Earth is going to go in the next couple of years, so I figured why not do something about it? Even if it doesn’t work out, at least I tried,” Yaroli said.
Sadly, this seems to be a common sentiment among environmental activists. According to an extensive and alarming special report released by the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change, the average global temperature must be kept at or below 1.5 degrees Celsius by reducing carbon emissions. The report states that if the temperature increases even one more degree, it could spell absolute disaster for the Earth’s climate.
Reports like that urge on REAL and other environmental advocacy groups.
“Responding to climate change will require a level of mobilization greater than that of World War II,” McHugh said. “If we can come together as a collective and take action on all levels—local, university and governmental—we can mitigate this global threat.”
Students who want to learn more information about the petition and REAL’s green campus proposal, as well as the organization’s meetings, can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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