BY JOSEPH DELLAVECCHIA
The call to action was answered on Friday, September 27th, as thousands of schools from across the globe joined Greta Thunberg in rallying against climate change.
Among these schools was Sheridan College. Hundreds of students gathered outside of the Trafalgar campus to unite as one and listen to inspiring speakers tell them about what’s going on in the world and their own community, and how they can help.
At the rally, Sheridan president Janet Morrison said, “As a mom, as an educator, as an eater, and as a leader within the public sector of Ontario, I am so inspired by the voices of young people . . . the call to action on the most critical issue of our day, climate change, is really inspirational.”
She went on to explain how her first teaching appointment was with the faculty of environmental studies at York University, and how she wants to coach and mentor students to help make change at Sheridan. Morrison said, “Sheridan understands its accountability and its responsibility to take action now at this critical moment for our planet.”
Among the faculty speakers was Todd Barsanti, a teacher in Art Fundamentals at Sheridan and a major advocate for the environment. Barsanti touched on many ideas for how the school could reduce its carbon footprint such as stations to charge electric cars, solar panels in the parking lots and on the roofs, and living walls located throughout all Sheridan campuses.
Barsanti made it clear that these things can only happen if the students get involved and demand change by working together with each other and the school. “It’s more than just showing up to a rally. It’s what can you do tomorrow? What can you do beyond here?” He asked the students.
Barsanti went on to tell the students that their age demographic makes up the majority of voters for the first time ever, and this gives them power to help change the world. “The first thing you can do is vote in the federal election . . . you can effect change by just showing up.”
Many students echoed these thoughts and ideas with their own speeches. International students from around the world came forward sharing stories of their struggles with climate change back home, a group of musical theatre students sang a rendition of John Lennon’s “Imagine,” and vegans shared how lowering our intake of meat by just a little bit can cause major changes for the world.
Before the event, Wai Chu Cheng, coordinator for the office of sustainability, said, “Since 2010, our office for sustainability has been guiding Sheridan’s progress through Mission Zero . . . to cut our energy and carbon emissions in half.”
Students are encouraged to get involved with the office of sustainability and the school community to help create change. President Morrison ended her speech saying, “I have confidence that under the leadership of our office of sustainability we’ll continue to make great strides.”