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Is the Sun Setting on the Sunrise Movement

Is the Sun Setting on the Sunrise Movement

How WWU Students Can Fight for Climate Change at Home 

By Claira Eastwood  

The Sunrise Movement, an organization fighting to make stopping climate change a priority in the United States, used to be part of Walla Walla University and the greater Walla Walla area. [1] 

The organization is made up of hubs and strike circles. Hubs are where the actions (like strikes and marches) are planned, and are usually made up of three or more people. Strike circles are made up of 10 dedicated individuals who are willing to strike, march, protest, etc., especially on days like Earth Day, to draw attention to climate change and what big corporations can do to help. Walla Walla used to have a strike circle back in 2020, and was about to form a hub when the COVID-19 pandemic began. [2] 

As a youth-led organization, Sunrise has had a hand in political elections across the country, including the 2020 presidential election. When talking about how young people of the country put President Biden and Vice President Harris in the White House, Sunrise project manager Garrett Blad wrote, “Sunrise Movement has been deploying money, volunteers, and resources to have a major impact on youth turnout.” [3] 

The Sunrise Movement has been able to have a hand in high profile elections because, statistically, it is young people who are more concerned about climate change than older generations.  

According to a study done by Yale University on how different generations view climate change, 70% of those aged 18-34 say they are concerned about global warming, whereas only 56% of those ages 55 and older say they are worried. [4] 

Members of the Sunrise Movement marching in support of the Green New Deal. Photo by Sunrise Movement Facebook page. 

If the younger generation, including the one that currently attends WWU, is more likely to be concerned about climate change and the repercussions that are already affecting us now, shouldn’t we as students find a way to do more? 

Joseph Santana, senior biochemistry and sociology double major, was the one working with a Sunrise Movement advisor to do something about climate change here on our campus.  

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic ended any discussions and possible strikes that could be done last year. A strike was planned for Earth Day, but on March 12, 2020, the day a meeting was scheduled to talk through details of the strike, administration sent out the email telling students we were all going home.  

“I do want to figure out what can be done on this campus,” Santana said, “I’m graduating this year, so the change would have to come from other students. [5] The more people who are involved in mass protests, the better because the idea is that if two million people are adamant about a certain subject, things will change.” Both Santana and the Sunrise Movement believe that change is possible if young people can take their beliefs and make them known to people who can do something about them.  

Climate change is serious and is not something that should only be discussed on Earth Day or in April. It is an issue that we can do something about. As the Sunrise Movement says on their website when talking about their principles, we need to “take care of ourselves, each other, and our shared home.” If anyone is interested in working with the Sunrise Movement and potentially continuing the change that was started last year in our local city, visit www.sunrisemovement.org/take-action [6].  

References 

See Also

1. Sunrise Movement about page. Sunrise Movement. Retrieved from https://www.sunrisemovement.org/about/?ms=AboutTheSunriseMovement.  

2. Tweet from Garrett Blad. Twitter. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/gblad/status/1325136117201506304.  

3. Ballew, Matthew et al. (2019, June 11). Do younger generations care more about global warming? Yale. Retrieved from https://bit.ly/3xx5Vlh.  

4. Interview with Santana, J. (2021, April 20). 

5. Ibid. 

6. Sunrise Movement take action page. Retrieved from www.sunrisemovement.org/take-action.  

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