By: Renata Koch Alvarenga
In light of the ongoing threat of the United States to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, which was confirmed on June 1, the United Nations Association chapter at Seton Hall University has been doing advocacy work on climate change through in-district meetings, work within Seton Hall, and through their UNA Climate Forum, which took place in late April.
The UNA Climate Forum was our biggest event of the semester, and the Executive Board of UNA-SHU planned it for months. It was divided in four parts:
1. Welcome and Lunch: In this initial part of the event, we welcomed about 50 students and introduced the event while serving multiple types of tacos, chips, and guacamole!
2. Global Climate Change and What It Means for Our Community: We started the speakers’ series at the Forum with a presentation about climate science and the dangers of climate change by Jason Kliwinski, of the Climate Reality Project. After Mr. Kliwinski, Seton Hall professor Philip Moremen talked about the global climate negotiations and the importance of the Paris Agreement.
3. Community Engagement and Civic Action Panel: For the second speaker, we welcomed Alex Bozmoski, from the organization RepublicEn, who did an interactive poll with the crowd and brought a climate literacy perspective from the conservatives.
4. Advocacy Time: Students walked around the room to check out ways to advocate for climate action. We had different advocacy tables, including Citizens Climate Lobby, which had representatives to talk about civic action to deal with the threat of climate change, Retree, which accepted $1 donations to plant trees anywhere in the world, as well as our very own UNA-SHU table with freebies offered by the UN Foundation and the Ecology Club at Seton Hall. Students also had the chance to network with our guest speakers and enjoy some snacks.
The UNA Climate Forum was a huge success, and allowed the students to learn more about climate action, as well as actually do something about it, by writing letters to congress and donating to plant trees (we were able to plant 20 trees in Brazil!). Even though the current administration chose to leave the Paris Agreement, UNA-USA advocates such as Seton Hall students will keep fighting, through campus events and meetings with our representatives, for a world with renewable energy, clean air, and stable temperatures!