Climate Group Encourages Students to Write to Representatives

The local chapter of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby hosted a table at the Memorial Student Center Wednesday to encourage Marshall University students to write letters to their Congress members to voice their concerns about the effects of climate change.

“We want students to have an opportunity to learn about the Citizens’ Climate Lobby, to learn that there are things that we can do, and we are giving people a chance to write to their Congressman or Congresswoman and we will hand deliver them on June 23,” Pam Rockwell, a volunteer with the group, said.

Rockwell said the Citizens’ Climate Lobby is an international organization with the mission to reduce carbon in the atmosphere and that the time for action is now.

“We’re at a critical place, we’re seeing from so many different places that the temperature has risen dramatically since the industrial age and things are happening much sooner than people thought they would, like the melting of glaciers and the extreme weather patterns,” Rockwell said. “Here in West Virginia we had a thousand year flood.”

Volunteer Diane Mitchell said filling out forms they call “letter to the Congressman” allows students to voice their opinions to their representatives.

“We will let the members of Congress know that we are very concerned about the way the temperature of the Earth is rising and that when we address it by reducing the emissions from fossil fuels it will help stabilize the climate,” Mitchell said. “It’s just just showing the Congressman the attitude toward climate change that the individual has so the member of Congress can understand the opinions of the constituents.”

Emily Bartsch, who isn’t enrolled at Marshall, but was visiting the campus and saw the table, said she believes there isn’t enough being done to combat climate change.

“I essentially wrote that, as constituents, our representatives have a duty to us. We are the people who put them there, they have a duty to fight for us and to fight for our wishes and to protect the planet that we call home,” Bartsch said.

Future student Shahquari Shi said he will be majoring in environmental science and that this is an issue people face every day.

“If Congress puts its head in the sand in regards to climate change, not only is it endangering the livelihoods of millions of Americans, but billions of people worldwide and we have a responsibility not to do so,” Shi said. “Ignoring the real science and real data that is out there in the scientific community because it’s inconvenient is foolish.”

The volunteers also said they want to take students to Washington, D.C. to lobby directly to members of Congress on June 11 and 12. They would also attend a camp hosted by the Citizens’ Climate Lobby on June 7, 8, 9 and 10 that would train them on how to effectively voice their opinions to members of Congress.

The local chapter will also be participating in a climate march on April 29 at 11 a.m. in Huntington starting at Heritage Station.

Adam Stephens can be contacted at [email protected]