As a sophomore in college who just turned twenty years old, I’m trying to figure out what exactly I want to do with the rest of my life. Obviously there’s no way of knowing anytime soon where I’ll be in 10 years, because that would be much too easy. But what I do know is that I will be in Washington D.C. on March 2nd raising my voice with hundreds of other college students about an issue that we all care deeply about—climate change. And it’s an issue that you should care about too.
As a Geography major at Syracuse University, I sit in class day after day and am constantly preached to about the unprecedented levels of carbon dioxide emissions observed in our atmosphere today and how humans have inarguably played a major role in that spike. Likewise, those same scientists point their fingers at the combustion of fossil fuels to quench our nation’s unappeasable appetite for energy as a major contributor in this crisis.
However, I walk out of class only to be reminded that my very own university still invests money in these fossil fuel companies. And that our very own government is still mulling over whether or not to construct a pipeline that would carry 800,000 barrels a day of the dirtiest form of oil all the way from Alberta, Canada down to the Gulf of Mexico.
Just the other day, I watched a documentary called $HIFT about how students at San Francisco State University successfully convinced their university to divest from fossil fuels. Her name escapes me at the moment, but a woman in the documentary brought up the sweet and simple point that you never hear people saying, “COAL: The Energy of the Future,” or “OIL: The Energy of the Future.” So why are people so hot on getting this pipeline approved?
Well first of all, the already billionaire Koch Brothers would make an estimated $100 billion in profits if this pipeline deal goes through thanks to the 2 million acres of land that Koch Industries holds in Alberta, Canada. So it’s no wonder that they’re rumored to have spent $50 million convincing think tanks and members of Congress to support construction of the pipeline. I can see why they’re so hot on getting this pipeline up and running: $$$.
So that’s why I’m going to show up at the White House next weekend and rally with my peers. Because I’m tired of being kicked around and lied to by people working off of the fossil fuel industry’s agenda. We may not have nearly as much money as Charles and David Koch, but we have strength in numbers and a hell of a lot more heart.
Climate change is the biggest threat facing our generation today and approving the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline is a step in the wrong direction. So it is my duty as a citizen of this country and as a student of Syracuse University to stand up for justice. No Keystone XL.
Christine is a sophomore from Chicago, IL currently studying Geography and Writing at Syracuse University.