By Rabia Gursoy and Niki Nassiri
More than a dozen protestors walked down the Academic Mall on Sept. 26 around 6 p.m., debating what to chant.
They clutched posters, many of which illustrated the Earth crying or in pain, while others read, “There is no planet B” and “THIS NOT A DRILL.”
“How about we chant, ‘What do we want? Climate action! When do we want it?’” Noemi Guerra, Oxfam Club president and junior clinical laboratory science major, said.
“You mean, when do we want it? Yesterday!” yelled back one of the protestors.
The climate protest began at the Student Activities Center (SAC) Plaza and made a full circle around the Academic Mall. The Oxfam Club, an international organization that empowers students to take action regarding poverty, social injustice and the impact of natural disasters, organized the protest. The members dedicated their week to making this protest possible.
“We coordinated with Oxfam America and decided to do a protest on our campus,” Guerra said. “We made sure that we were cleared with the USG [Undergraduate Student Government], and then we set up fliers and venue.”
The protest followed a series of climate change demonstrations, such as the climate strike in Lower Manhattan on Sept. 20, which 60,000 people attended, according to the office of Bill DeBlasio. The Oxfam Club organized the climate protest as a way to show their support.
“I don’t think protests are a direct effect — they are more of a show in order to say that we care and show people around the world that they have people behind them,” Guerra said.
The United Nations recently published its 2019 Global Outlook Report. The report states that climate change is heating the ocean so fast that its chemistry is being altered — enough to threaten seafood supplies, increase cyclones and floods and threaten millions living in coastal regions.
Three passersby joined the protest when the group paused outside the Wang Center. One of the new protesters held a torn out notebook page that read, “Stop Chinese Emissions! End flooding in Tajikistan!” The Oxfam Club members offered spare posters to the newcomers.
During the protest, attendees expressed anxiety about the future and said they wanted other generations to live in a non-polluted world.
“We have a responsibility to take care of nature,” Alli Guzman-Martinez, a junior political science major who attended the protest, said. “Nature has been good to us so it would be selfish of us not to be good to it back.”
The protest, nearing its end, organized into a semi-circle facing the SAC building and chanted, “Hey, hey! Ho-ho! Emissions have got to go!”
“I think it’s important that younger people, like us, really speak our opinions and make a difference,” Claudia Simmons, the secretary of the Stony Brook United Nations Children’s Fund and junior Asian studies and political science double major, said. “We need to use our power and express what’s important in the world.”