On April 10th, the Interdisciplinary Public Square (IPS) in collaboration with the Beach Forensics Program and support from the University Honors Program (UHP) held a student debate focused on exploring the potential advantages, pitfalls, and contradictions of using fossil fuel divestment as a strategy for responding to the climate crisis. The event offered a chance to explore different sides of the divestment issue, including the potential trap of falling into a green paradox – the idea that the sudden imposition of a carbon tax or fossil fuel ban could lead industries to accelerate their resource extraction and exploitation in anticipation of the tax or ban. Eight student members of the Beach Forensics team participated in the debate, with over 100 students and faculty members in attendance.
Watch the debate here:
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On April 18th, the Interdisciplinary Public Square held its second Earth Now! event: a 2-hour Climate Action & Empowerment Teach-In and community environment fair on CSULB’s main quad. The Teach-In complemented the Earth Now! Student Debate held on April 10th and is the latest in a series of IPS-organized teach-in’s. The most recent previous teach-in was held in October 2018, focused on reclaiming democracy and voting rights ahead of the 2018 elections.
Emphasizing ways to get engaged and involved in climate action, the first hour of the event consisted of a series of short, inspirational and persuasive talks by a diverse group of speakers. Dr. Lily House-Peters (CSULB faculty, Geography department) presented the case for fossil fuel divestment as an effective and achievable climate action strategy. Nathan York (CSULB student, Political Science) delivered a rousing talk on the Green New Deal providing insight and clarity for two key questions: What is the Green New Deal? And does it meet our needs?
Local environmental justice activist Magali Sanchez-Hall (MA Public Policy, UCLA) and Purepecha indigenous leader Auanita Fabiola Zamora inspired the teach-in participants with an impassioned call to re-activate ancestral consciousness and re-learn indigenous practices in conjunction with mobilizing grass-roots climate justice activism to heal our communities, inter-personal relations, and planetary health. Katie Cox (PhD Candidate, UC Irvine) challenged the audience to reflect on their own practices of solidarity building and personal experiences with environmental racism and climate change, bringing her expertise in law, science, and community organizing.
Following the talks, the second hour of the teach-in consisted of guided discussion groups and networking, with over 10 campus and community organizations present, including the Aquarium of the Pacific, East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice (EYCEJ),