By Michael Samuels 09F
More than 50 Hampshire students were among protestors who gathered at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. on February 17.
The Forward on Climate Rally called on President Obama to take greater action against climate change, and in particular to reject the proposed Keystone XL pipeline between Canadian tar sand deposits and the Gulf Coast.
“I feel like the KXL pipeline is such a clear fork in the road,” says Justine Gonzalez-Berg 11F, who attended the rally. “If the people can win on this one I think it will represent a much larger issue. This is such a huge moment to say 'No' to this oil-driven system that is serving so few and exploiting so many.”
New Leaf, a student group devoted to environmental issues both globally and on campus, chartered a bus to carry students to the rally. It quickly filled up. Five Colleges Against Fossil Fuels also chartered a bus.
On the Friday before the rally, Community Partnerships for Social Change held a sign-making event, providing materials for students to make signs to take to D.C.
Ivana Staiti, the assistant director of CPSC, says participation in the rally fits with Hampshire’s history of concern for environmental justice and an investment policy that is removing the College from any fossil fuel holdings.
Gonzalez-Berg has one other reason that she went to D.C. to join the protest: it’s what she studies. Part of her concentration at Hampshire, Gonzalez-Berg says, examines “how capitalism, as it is operating today, with the domination by corporations and lack of governmental regulation, intersects with so many of the social and environmental challenges [faced by] our communities and nation and world.”