Hundreds Join Youth Climate Strike in Newark
Participants demand end to fossil fuels, call for clean air, clean water and climate justice
NEWARK, NJ – Hundreds of students, climate activists and environmentalists came to Newark for the North Jersey Climate Strike, part of a wave of youth-led actions across the country.
Groups of climate marchers gathered at train stations across northern New Jersey this morning for local rallies before joining the noontime action at Norman Samuels Plaza on the Rutgers campus.
Rutgers students from the Newark and New Brunswick campuses came together at the action to demand the university’s Board of Governors divest from fossil fuel companies and create plans to achieve net zero carbon emissions on all campuses by 2030.
“As a public university, it is our responsibility to secure a sustainable future for our students and broader communities, and to set an example for other institutions across the globe. Our scientists are telling us we have a decade left to solve this crisis, so we’re calling on Rutgers University to unite with us behind the science and move quickly to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2030,” said Krishna Gotur, a student at Rutgers New Brunswick. “Additionally, we call upon the Rutgers Administration to divest from fossil fuels, and commit to ethical divestment, by the end of 2024.”
Assata Mann, a student at Rutgers Newark said, “Climate change is the most pressing issue of our time, and the solutions are closely intertwined with nearly all other issues we face as a society. Bringing together people of all different walks of life to demand bold action from our elected officials is powerful because it’s going to take all of us to get this done.”
Climate strikers marched from Rutgers to the NJ Transit Headquarters and gathered for a rally at Peter Francisco Park, where they heard from speakers and performers. Activists called on Governor Murphy to stop the agency’s proposed gas-fired power plant in Kearny. The project would use hundreds of millions of dollars in Superstorm Sandy funds to build a major new source of climate and air pollution.
“When hundreds of students marched earlier this year to stop the Meadowlands fracked gas plant, we saw what a determined movement for climate justice can look like,” said Food & Water Action organizer Cassandra Worthington. “We stopped that awful plan, and we will stop other dirty fossil fuel projects across New Jersey. Governor Murphy must know that the first step towards a just transition to 100% clean, renewable energy is a moratorium on new fossil fuel projects.”
The march sought to highlight the connections between climate change and immigrants’ rights and water justice, a key concern in Newark and surrounding communities. “My family left Ecuador, home to much of the Amazon and a launching pad to the majestic Patagonia, when I was 2 years old for a life filled with more economic opportunity for myself and my siblings. Yet what we’re rapidly losing is what matters the most: A planet that can sustain life,” said Cris Calle, a junior at Rutgers University and the creative director of Future of North Hudson community organization. “As an immigrant, I have seen parallels between how our government treats our environment and how it treat our immigrants – we are constantly closing doors and exploiting the communities and natural resources we need to survive and thrive together. We must protect our undocumented communities and give them the right to drive and work. We must cut funding to ICE because they’d rather trick immigrants to place them in jail rather than keep our immigrant communities safe. A more inclusive and just society is necessary to realize our goal of just and liveable future!”