Pacers for climate reform: Marywood stands in solidarity with strike


Sydney Toy

Marywood made its own contribution to the worldwide climate strike on Sept 20 with the Climate Prayer Advocacy event. The IHM Sisters hosted the event at the IHM Center where sisters, students and some faculty gathered to pray for our planet and advocate by contacting Pennsylvania senators Bob Casey and Pat Toomey.

According to the climate strike website, the Global Climate Strike was organized by younger people to gain government attention about the serious threat climate change poses to citizens worldwide. The Global Climate Strike goes hand-in-hand with the “Fridays for Future” school strike headed by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg. Global strikes took place on Sept 20. and Sept. 27, where both adults and students worked together in advocacy.

The strike on Sept. 20 came three days before the United Nations met in New York City, prior to the emergency climate summit that took place. The Sept. 27 strike merged with Earth Strike, which is a grassroots movement pushing for climate action from governments and corporations all over the world.

The prayer advocacy that took place was Marywood’s way of showing its support for action to combat climate change and in support of those marching. The prayer began at noon and was organized by Sr. Donna Korba IHM who is part of the Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Committee. The prayer lasted roughly half an hour and featured different passages, group prayer and a call to action by Korba to call the Pennsylvania Senators.

Korba said she feels strongly about the strike and the as well as the threat climate change poses to the not only the nation, but the world.

“I think the climate crisis is the justice issue of our time,” said Korba. “It affects everything. It’s our home. If we don’t have our planet we don’t have anything. If our administration isn’t going to respond, we need to respond.”

Assistant Director of Campus Ministry Sr. John Michele Southwick IHM heard about the strike during the summer and came back prepared and wanting Marywood to have its own, even if it was for a short period of time. But when Southwick returned to campus over the summer, she found no one knew about it.

“The students didn’t know about it, the faculty didn’t know about it, the staff didn’t know about it. How could the whole world know about it but not Marywood?”

So instead of forgetting about the idea, Southwick partnered with Korba for the prayer and advocacy as a way to show their support. Southwick also said she emphasizes recycling on campus as another way to do her part.

Sr. Margaret Gannon IHM Gannon showed her support for this movement by stressing the importance of acting now and the consequences of inaction as well.

“I strongly agree the most important thing we have to worry about is climate change because we know that in the next 11 years if we don’t act and reduce emissions that millions of people are going to die. Some of it is already too late but we can prevent world catastrophe if we start acting.”

Both Gannon and Southwick stressed the importance of youth advocacy and listening to what is actually happening when it comes to the climate crisis. Both had great admiration for how Thunberg is supporting the cause as well as how she is thrusting the responsibility of fixing the issue into the laps of the older generations in power.

“[Thunberg’s impact] says something about how one person can make a difference that if we want an Earth 20 years, 50 years from now that we need to do something about it and it’s not just the politicians,” said Southwick. “It’s not just the nuns. It’s not just the young people. It’s got to be everybody. If we each personally don’t take responsibility, it’s not going to get done. It has to happen”

Gannon made more of a scientific argument about the importance of paying attention to climate change.

“Ninety seven percent of all the scientists in the world claim this is true. Greta [Thunberg] said ‘don’t believe me, believe the scientists’ and that’s very important. In terms of a student and young people in general, it’s just wonderful that they are taking the lead in this, so I think the strike is a turning point. We are at a turning point.”

As the prayer came to an end, Korba once again stressed the importance of calling Senators Toomey and Casey about the International Climate Accountability Act.

“To see the world with the eyes of God is to live in the world with the heart of Jesus,” said Korba. “I believe we were called to mend our world, if our elected leaders won’t do it, we have to. Prayer is important but advocacy is essential.”

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