Iowa State students and Ames community members gathered Friday outside of Parks Library to rally and protest for climate change issues.
The event was hosted by Iowa State’s Climate Reality Campus Corps and focused on what they see as a looming issue.
Hector Arbuckle, a senior in biology who organized the event for the Climate Reality group, shared information published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change at the United Nations saying the planet has 11 to 12 years before climate change issues become catastrophic.
Some key demands of the protest were for Iowa State to be 100 percent committed to renewable energy by the year 2030 and the university and the United States to commit to net-zero carbon emissions in the same time period. They believe that if global temperatures rise by 1.5 degrees celsius or more, there will be large-scale negative effects.
Juan Bibiloni, the vice president of Student Government, was one of the first speakers and said that climate change is negatively impacting Iowa through pollutants and reduced crop yields. He encouraged more action to be taken in the future.
“We have failed over the past decades to actually take any conclusive action towards ensuring the livelihoods of not just ourselves, but future generations,” Bibiloni said.
Toni Sleugh, the Student Government director of sustainability expressed more optimism saying, the reason why climate change isn’t inevitable is “because there are so many people who care about it.”
Curt Siemers, a former Iowa State student came forward during an open microphone time to tell attendees he was there because of Gretta. His statements were a reference to a 16-year-old Swedish girl named Gretta Thunberg who has been protesting outside of the Parliament building every Friday since August of 2018. The activist supports the Paris Climate Agreement made by the United Nations and has tried to get legislators to follow its guidelines.
Following Thunberg’s example, students at different schools around the world joined in on the strike at their schools. Ames High School students held a silent protest on Wednesday due to the school being closed on Friday. A student from nearby Gilbert High School was also in attendance at the event at Iowa State.
Several different viewpoints were presented as solutions to the issue, including one from Andrei Migunov, a member of a group called the International Marxist Tendency. The group was not involved with organizing the event but had several members present.
Migunov also talked during the open speaking time and criticized both major American political parties. He said he believes climate change couldn’t be addressed under a capitalist system and called on people to create a new system where climate change could be addressed.
Other parts of the rally included a march down to the Iowa State power plant. On the way protestors waved signs and yelled chants including, “Love your mother, love your earth,” “This is for our lives, join the climate strike” and “No more coal, no more oil, keep our carbon in the soil.”
Several students spoke up for a recent piece of controversial legislation known as the Green New Deal which has faced criticism and support nationwide.
Arbuckle expressed his support for initiatives like the Green New Deal. He said Climate Reality Campus Corps doesn’t have an official position on how funding should be achieved for climate change programs but does demand that it is accomplished.
Arbuckle said the main goal of the event was “to get more students involved” in his organization and the fight against climate change. Climate Reality Campus Corps meets at 6 p.m. Thursdays in Carver Hall.
The event concluded with several chants and a call to action for students to get involved in climate change programs.
“How long do we have? Eleven years. Will we do it? Yes”
Editor's Note: A previous version of this article said Migunov "cited a Buzzfeed article" in speaking about climate change and capitalism, but he did not. The Daily regrets this error.