Name one thing in common with the gay rights movement, civil rights movement and climate change. No, the answer isn’t bigots fighting against the movement — it’s collaboration. When I say collaboration, many students will think of awful group projects where they can get maybe one or two other people in their group of six to actually do work while the others piggyback off the productive ones. When I talk about collaboration, I’m talking about people with different backgrounds, viewpoints, ideas and cultures coming together to overcome a challenge. The gay rights movement is about males, females and everything in between — your culture and education don’t matter; it’s your beliefs and passions that drive you. It is the same with the civil rights movement: It wasn’t just African-Americans fighting for fair rights; it was people of all races that experienced discrimination. With climate change, everyone is affected. The challenges may all be different, but it’s important for all kinds of people to work together to overcome them.
Let’s break this down to a smaller scale. This upcoming weekend, the Drexel Sierra Club has nine members going to Pittsburgh for Power Shift 2013, a national youth environmental convergence that will have inspiring keynote speakers, challenging activist workshops, and tons of networking among youth from all over the country. Whether new or a veteran to the environmental movement, this conference is a chance for anyone who is passionate about environmentalism to collaborate to make a stronger movement. Our Dragons will learn from students from all over the country what their campus is doing to fight effectively and efficiently for sustainability while making lifelong friends and coming home with their eyes wide open to hundreds of new perspectives. They’ll bring back new ideas and thoughts to our campus and try to help us realize what we need to do to change.
In my article last week, I mentioned how sustainability organizations like the Green Globes and LEED argue about which of them does their process better. We don’t have time or room for organizations to fight against each other for the “best” good. We don’t have time for organizations to keep reinventing the wheel, and we definitely don’t have time to ignore other voices from different places, backgrounds and cultures shouting at us to change our behavior. We have so many people, businesses, governments and organizations working against our cause for a better future. If they see us fight among ourselves, they win.
This slow disaster of climate change is happening. It may seem irrelevant now compared to the immediate disasters that are happening, but it will be devastating in every way until the moment that we all realize, “Oh, this has gotten really bad.” It’s up to us: young, old, poor, rich, women, men — everyone— to work together toward a fight that could save all of us.
Nicole Koedyker is the president of the Drexel Sierra Club. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Drexel Sierra Club contributes weekly.