UC Berkeley Students March for Climate Justice
All Photos Credit to SERC and Fossil Free Cal
On Saturday, Nov. 21st, over 60 UC Berkeley students traveled to Oakland to join thousands marching at the NorCal Climate Mobilization. Continue reading for individual students’ experiences and insights!
“The Climate Mobilization was the happiest and most joyful social justice action I’ve ever been to. My heart was so filled up by seeing everyone dancing in the streets, celebrating a common cause and a hopefulness for progress, despite the fact that the topic at hand is so grim and even dismal at times.” -Avery Hardy, third year
“The energy at the march was incredible, capturing the desperation of the movement while also embracing a celebratory and hopeful aesthetic. The messaging was conveyed more through dance and music than through somber speeches, creating a dope sense of community among those who came out.” – Rigel Robinson, second year
“It was fantastic to see the broad coalition that showed up at the march in Oakland on Saturday, working together as a part of the global struggle around COP as well as local struggles like the fight against bringing coal through Oakland. That said, I also want there to be room for self-reflection and critique—I was a bit surprised that the rally at Oscar Grant Plaza had groups like Black Lives Matter, APEN, and Fossil Free Cal so far down the list, after most of the crowd had left, prioritizing instead groups like 350.org, Vote Solar, and even 20 minutes of an oldies cover band.” – Jake Soiffer, third year
“The events on Saturday demonstrated to me that the demand for climate justice is being spoken by every community. This rally was beautiful because not only were we marching to show unity in our cause, we were sharing songs, ideas, and moments that reemphasized to me the reason why I enjoy being a part of a movement where we can both celebrate the progress we have made, yet find new points to fight for; especially as the COP21 approaches and we need to seriously show what has been going on at the political level has been completely devastating and if national leaders in business and government want to actually make a difference, they need to look towards what is being done already, in communities like ours.” – Allegra Saggese, second year
“The NorCal climate mobilization was the premier event of the semester for environmental activists on campus. The event was centered around dancing, playing, and connecting with community members. It was a thrilling event leading up to COP21 providing individuals from every age group with hope for the success of climate progress!” – Kristy Drutman, third year
“The mobilization really came at a time of recent successes in the environmental movement. I was inspired by the celebratory, inclusive, and forward-looking atmosphere. For UC Berkeley students working on climate justice here on campus, it was a reminder of the energy and scope of the global movement.” – Wes Adrianson, third year
“Never before have I seen so many people uniting in spirit and action for one cause. Now I believe we can solve climate change.” -Charlie James, third year
“it was empowering to see so many people at the march — folks from all different sectors who were united by the intersectionality of identities and causes. personally, I was excited to highlight the idea of cooperative business models as solutions to environmental injustices in the context of large-scale climate mobilization, as cooperative structure often gets simplified into notions of “hippie” communes and swept under the rug in conversations about socio-environmental resilience.” – Grace Lihn, third year
“It’s always because of the PEOPLE that change happens. Being a part of the mobilization – where the most important thing was the land, where native people were put first, and where everyone wanted a better future – made me feel that we the people can make a change and we will.” -Hannah Haugenes, first year
“I was impressed by the diversity of thought at the rally. Several political groups were present, and the range of solutions was also diverse. Signs ranged from my “if we burn more lignite more wildfires will ignite” to “Biochar is part of the solution”; a group was also present opposing UN-REDD, calling it a false solution. There is no single thing that will solve our climate problem, but we need to be discussing a broad range of solutions.” – Narayan Gopinathan, fourth year
“The Climate Mobilization March was a beautiful mass of people from all walks of life coming together to demand climate justice and celebrate the earth. The atmosphere was hopeful and energetic with drums and dancing in the street. I don’t think I’ve ever been to such a lively rally!” -Sarah Atkinson, fourth year
“The NorCal Climate Mobilization March in Oakland, California was, in a word, uplifting. In the face of the dire environmental headlines we read daily, it was motivating and rejuvenating to mobilize, to get out there, to be seen and heard. As students, we tend to get caught up in our own worlds, and the environmental community is so large that it at times can feel quite disparate. That said, the NorCal Climate March was all unity and catharsis. The Berkeley contingent got on our feet and marched and our voices boomed with strong visions of a more sustainable, justtomorrow. We marched, yes, but we also broke out in dance. There were numerous drum lines along the route, culminating finally with an Ohlone-led euphoric dance circle in Frank Ogawa Plaza. The injustices caused by fossil fuel extraction and consumption that we decried with our words we now decried with our bodies. As our bodies jostled and jived in sync, we created an atmosphere of celebration and hope. Such a joy!
Mobilizing in any form is such an active process. Marching on Saturday the 21st in the NorCal Climate Mobilization instilled in me yet again that the future itself is also something people, particularly young people, actively create. Achieving climate justice will be a tough, decades-long challenge—one that neither starts nor ends in Paris. But being there on the streets of Oakland with so many of the people I love, I was reminded that our generation’s challenge is undoubtedly also a privilege.” – Ryan Lynch, fourth year