The Mercer Green Coalition staged a climate strike on Sept. 28 to raise awareness for issues of environmental sustainability. The strike was held on Cruz Plaza and was done in partnership with the Friday for Future movement.
“The biggest thing is that we hope that people make changes in their personal lives and their habits, but obviously we would like to see a change in the way that Mercer itself is structured and how it handles sustainability issues, which is something that we have been trying to do for the past two years since the Green Coalition was formed,” said Emily Harvey, a Mercer Green Coalition member.
The strike, which was inspired by the young activist Greta Thunburg, incorporated groups from several local colleges and high schools.
“We got some emails from groups at Middle Georgia State and some from Milledgeville, as well as from some Macon high schools that wanted to join us,” said Nidihi Saakshi, director of the Mercer Green Coalition. “It was nice to see that people were interested and willing to travel for it.”
One of the ways for students to participate in the strike was to pose with signs displaying various climate and environmental concerns, in addition to artwork with memes and witty phrases.
“We had people come out Wednesday to make the signs, and they were really excited and engaged with it, so we hope things go well,” Harvey said.
While the strike was the latest action taken by the Coalition, they have been active on environmental issues since they were founded.
“The Green Coalition has done a lot to try and improve sustainability on campus. We do have recycling on campus, but it is out of the way and people don’t really know about it. We have pushed for institutional changes in that way that Mercer builds buildings, what they use in them and the way that sustainability is thought of on campus,” Harvey said.
While the Coalition is primarily focused on campus sustainability issues, they also have a wider outlook.
“We hope to engage in conversation, to get people talking about climate change so that they can push and show the university and the community that they want change and that they are passionate about it,” Saakshi said.
This wider perspective is also reflected in the makeup of the group.
“Green Coalition isn’t an organization. It’s made up of student organizations that have partnered together: Bear it Natural, SGA, Greener Mercer and the Vegan club,” Harvey said.
With this range of members and a goal of sustainability, the Coalition has set its sights high.
“We would love to see a world with a future,” Harvey said.
October is International Campus Sustainability Month, and Saakshi said the Coalition will have three events throughout the month. More information will be posted on their Instagram and through Bear Blurbs.