Student organization hopes to educate and engage fellow students in environmental activism.
By Annika Henthorn
The fatal cocktail of heavy winds, prolonged heat, and increasing temperatures felt all over the news is merely a symptom of the overarching illness, climate change. With much of California ablaze, climate change, now more than ever, has been at the forefront of people’s minds. It is no longer an issue for tomorrow but of today. In an effort to combat this brutal reality, the student organization Green Gaels has taken the initiative to educate and take part in the on-going fight for a better tomorrow.
According to club president, Payton Reil, Green Gaels is an organization within the Saint Mary’s community that is interested in doing “their part in combating climate change and informing themselves about the environmental injustices found throughout the world.” Green Gaels welcomes all to contribute in this monumental movement towards a cleaner, and more environmentally-friendly future. Currently, Reil claims, they are fixating on “relevant conversations surrounding climate change, environmental racism, and indigenous land rights by sharing articles and resources with each other.”
The broad spectrum of environmental discussions being held allows students “to find their interests within the conversation,” according to Reil. Whether that is Environmental Justice or conservation, “there [are] tons of media that you can look into” to be better informed of current environmental issues on both a national and local scale. Green Gaels are heavily involved in the fight for “sustainable practices on SMC’s campus.”
Despite the expected changes since COVID-19 transpired, Green Gaels have continued to safely educate and provide resources for students, urging them to persist in the fight against climate change. Thus far, Green Gaels have hosted a variety of events, one being a Kahoot filled with environmental facts. Additionally, they threw a virtual movie night where they watched a pro-wrestler transition to a plant-based diet.
Upcoming events include their upcycling night which takes “older items and finds new uses for them.” This pushes students to find creative ways of using older objects for newer purposes. Riel also explained that they are “going to be hosting a low carbon and meatless cooking night where they will “talk about the transition to more environmentally-aware meals.” According to The Washington Post, “the agriculture sector is one of the world’s biggest sources of climate-altering gases,” with the majority stemming from dairy and meat production. Diets have a huge impact on the demands for meat and dairy. With the United States being a predominantly meat and dairy heavy culture, a diet switch, although seemingly miniscule, can leave a substantial dent in production and a lasting imprint in the revolution against climate change.
Green Gaels are a “stepping stone” to helping students feel “more comfortable in their role as environmentalists.” It not only focuses on the issues of today, but also celebrates the victories of what has been accomplished thus far. This revolution is composed of small actions from individuals passionate about the future. Whether that starts with recycling, voting, or simply signing petitions, Green Gaels hope to ignite a desire to continue educating oneself about relevant environmental issues and steps that can be taken to contribute to the ongoing fight against climate change.
Victoria Vidales '21,