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"By Any Means Necessary" MSU Must Address Climate Change, Demands Panel

Updated: Oct 28, 2020

'"Something really radical has to happen,' said a JMC professor."

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Author: Jack Carlson

A panel demanded MSU to phase out fossil fuels, stated need for collective action, and called on the student government to act.

At the James Madison College (JMC) panel consisting of students and professors, one panelist declared, “by any means necessary,” MSU must be held accountable to climate change action.

Answering how to solve climate change, “something really radical has to happen,” said a JMC professor towards the end of the event. She clarified emphasizing a peaceful “civic uprising.”

The event started with a series of “land acknowledgements.” The acknowledgements included the names of indigenous tribes who inhabited the land MSU sits on. The acknowledgements are “critical for our collective project of solving climate change,” said the panel.

During the panel, demands were made at the University to take action on climate change. JMC professors also voiced their opinions about climate change activism and solutions.

Outlined by several panelists was the idea of capitalism being against climate change. They cited the existence of fossil fuel industries and their externalities as the side effects of capitalism.

Expanding on that point, a panelist mentioned the United States’ per capita responsibility for pollution several times. China’s, India’s, and other nation’s rates were not mentioned.

Going forward, the panel called said ending “university's investment in fossil fuels” was a goal. They said it means phasing out the use of energy derived from fossil fuels on campus.

The Princeton Review rates Michigan State 19 in its Top 50 Green Colleges list.

A member of the JMC Student Senate, speaking as a panelist, made a number of claims to the audience, including “we don’t even have clean water. You see your water bottle, wait an hour, it has lead in it.”

The panelist went further, saying students must “hold the university accountable by any means necessary.” Both professors on the panel shook their heads in agreement following this comment. Elaborating on the comment, he suggested “we won’t have a college to study from if we don’t act. Honestly, cost isn’t the question we should be asking.”

Among the panelist’s closing remarks were calling for ASMSU to act, saying “ASMSU has billions of dollars in funding.” ASMSU taxed a total of 2.4 million from students for the 2019-2020 school year.

A student at the event told The Morning Watch, “capitalism equals more factories and more capital, which in turn leads to more pollution and CO2 emissions.”

Asked about an alternative system that would be more effective, they replied “the system we have now is probably the best system we can have, but there are many areas within it that must be improved in order to prevent climate change.”

The event was co-sponsored by Roosevelt at MSU, Stonewall Society at MSU, United Madison Multicultural Association, JMC's Comparative Cultures and Politics Caucus, and DuBois Society at MSU.

Contributor: Jack Carlson

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