Duquesne group to attend environment march

Craig Taylor | Staff Writer

Environmental advocates looking to protest some of the Trump’s administration’s cutbacks will have the opportunity to make a difference later this month. Duquesne will bus students on April 29, Trump’s 100th day in office, to the People’s Climate Movement demonstration in Washington D.C.

The People’s Climate Movement platform includes the reduction of greenhouse emissions and waste, investments in sustainable industries and an increase to a $15 minimum wage, among other conversationist and social issues.

Trump’s stance on climate change is another major reason why the People’s Climate Movement is demonstrating, according to the organization’s website. The president plans to pull out of the Paris Agreement, which is a pact between 200 countries that agrees to cut global greenhouse emissions.

Duquesne philosophy professor and coordinator of the Duquesne Social Justice Association, Fred Evans, said the United States staying a part of the Paris Agreement is critical for the future of the environment.

“It’s such a step forward that to have that taken away would be devastating,” Evans said. “[The march] is the right movement at the right time.”

President Trump also signed an executive order last week undoing some of Barack Obama’s environmental work, including his replacement of high-pollution coal plants with renewable ones, and the ban of coal mine leasing on public lands.

On Twitter, Trump said climate change was part of a global conspiracy.

“The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive,” Trump tweeted in 2012.

In his proposed budget, Trump plans to cut the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget by almost a third.

Faith Bjalobok, a Duquesne philosophy professor helping to coordinate the trip, hopes the Trump administration leaves the EPA intact. She believes gutting it would counteract all of the work environmentalists have done over the past several decades.

“I believe that we only get one planet,” Bjalobok said. “[The People’s Climate Movement] is a march in support of the Earth and the EPA.”

Regarding Trump’s skepticism of climate change, Bjalobok thinks Trump is ill-informed.

“If he has had any experience in agriculture, he cannot deny the climate is changing,” she said.

Evans, who is also helping put the trip together, believes it will be a great opportunity for students looking to bond with like-minded individuals concerned with the environment, and to “embody their roles as citizens.”

“We have to go out and really protest and march to say we don’t agree with the direction [the country is being taken in],” Evans said.

Bjalobok thinks that Duquesne’s student body is particularly apolitical, and that the trip is an excellent opportunity for socially-conscious people to exercise their citizenship.

“You can sit back and complain and do nothing, or you can go out and do something,” Bjalobok said. “Even if it doesn’t work, at least you did something.”

Tickets will be $50 for a ride to and from D.C. Those interested should email bjalobo273@duq.edu to commit and receive a form detailing the specifics of the trip.