“Divest from polluters, invest in the future,” protesters chanted on April 22 at an Earth Day rally and march at the University of New Mexico. The event was hosted by the campus organization UNM Leaders for Environmental Action and Foresight (LEAF).
UNM LEAF is a group of UNM students and staff dedicated to addressing climate change and potential actions to take to lessen humanity’s impact on the natural world, according to the organization’s website.
The event started on Johnson Field, where signs were given out and opening statements were made by UNM LEAF’s Director of Operations Kineo Memmer and Director of Student Outreach Sofia Jenkins-Nieto. The crowd then split into smaller groups to comply with social distancing and began to march their way further into campus.
“Hurricanes, storms and quakes. How much more can we take?” protesters said.
The march ended at the duck pond, where groups sat on the grass and listened to members of UNM LEAF present individual experiences that led them to the common goal of advocating for the environment and implementing climate action in their community.
“What do we want? Climate action! When do we want it? Now!” attendees called.
As part of the rally, UNM LEAF members brought a compilation of 2020-2021 resolutions pertaining to climate change from the ASUNM and Faculty Senate governments, a letter about the need for UNM to take climate action and a petition with the goal of persuading UNM to update its climate plan. These documents were received by UNM Chief of Staff Terry Babbitt to be later passed on to President Garnett Stokes.
“We want UNM to update the climate action plan, divest from fossil fuels, increase opportunities for environmental education on campus, transition to a carbon-and-waste-free campus by 2030 and declare a climate emergency,” Memmer said. “So, we’re here rallying for all of those points.”
Avery Rogers is a freelance reporter at the Daily Lobo. They can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @DailyLobo