This week is Cornell’s first Climate Action Week, coinciding with the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference, known as COP27. Climate Action Week aims to educate students about the University’s goal to be carbon neutral by 2035 and inspire them to get involved.
“Data from our annual Mission Sustainability course shows that 99 percent of Cornell students care about sustainability,” said Kimberly Anderson, sustainability engagement manager at the Campus Sustainability Office. “This week offers a variety of opportunities for students and employees to learn more about global climate change and creative and exciting ways to take action right here on campus.”
From lectures and film screenings to conversations and sustainability workshops, this week includes several events centered around a call to action on climate change. A full list of events from before, during and after Climate Action Week can be found on the Sustainable Campus website.
On Tuesday, the Sustainability Office hosted a Cartooning for Climate event where attendees created their own climate cartoons. Participants were encouraged to narrate themes of climate change while exploring comical aesthetics.
Looking ahead, this Thursday marks the second day of the Global Grand Challenges Symposium: Frontiers and the Future. Panel discussions will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Clark Hall 700. Speakers will cover water quality, health research, space exploration and international collaboration.
Later that day, Stand Up For Climate Change will run from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Zoom. Hosted by the Campus Sustainability Office, this virtual comedy workshop will allow participants to develop climate-related sketch comedy acts and stand-up. Participants will consider how humor can be used to communicate climate change issues in engaging and informative ways.
Also on Thursday, Prof. Lori Leonard, global development, and the Campus Sustainability Office will host a clothing upcycling workshop, sustainable laundry discussion and clothing swap at 7:30 p.m. in Mews Hall. The event will cover eco-friendly laundry habits, and participants will receive complementary wool dryer balls, a sustainable alternative to liquid fabric softener.
Climate Action Week wraps up on Friday, when Climate Justice Cornell will launch its Climate, Jobs and Justice campaign at a rally in Thompson Park at 5 p.m. in support of a new bill package pushed by New York Renews, a state-wide coalition of over 300 environmental, labor, justice and community groups. Consisting of five current state senate bills, the Climate, Jobs and Justice package would support sustainability projects across the state, including here in Ithaca.
“Ithaca has a myriad of issues that need to be addressed in order to achieve the goals laid out in the Ithaca Green New Deal,” said Laila Reimanis, CJC social media chair. “Ithaca needs to reduce emissions from existing buildings, and it has a profound need to reduce emissions from the transportation sector.”
Ithaca also faces issues around environmental justice; based on data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau, Ithaca has the worst income inequality of any city in New York. At Friday’s rally, CJC will gather with community members around a commitment to make Ithaca a more equitable place.
“We hope to leverage our position as a progressive city in order to advance environmental justice policies at the state level, particularly by securing the support of our local Assemblymember Anna Kelles,” Reimanis said.
Moving forward, CJC will continue participating in opportunities offered by New York Renews, including a lobby meeting with Kelles next week. CJC plans to continue its Climate, Jobs and Justice campaign throughout the upcoming legislative session.
“It is of the utmost importance that all climate action is undertaken through the lens of equity,” Reimanis said.