I can finish my degree whenever I want. But I cannot put my mental and emotional health off any longer.
My participation in the Great March for Climate Action over the course of five months changed my thoughts and perceptions on a lot of things. One thing I didn’t expect it to change was my firmly held plans about motherhood.
One of the best things Ithaca College can do to fulfill its goal of benefiting others, in specific regards to communities and individuals affected by industry and climate change, is to remove all ties to fossil fuels. That includes divesting our endowment.
I found myself a nice piece of bus station floor and spread out my sleeping bag. I sat down and ate my fries quickly, hoping to catch a nap before my next bus. A man with his own basket of fries, smothered in cheese sauce, approached me.
“That’s a nice set up you got there, mind if I join you?”
While the powers of Reading and Schuyler County have realized that sending the We Are Seneca Lake protesters to jail is costly and only fuels our movement, many in my activist cohort believe that Judge Berry’s hesitance to sentence me runs deeper than that. They joke that he sees me as an incarnation of his own young granddaughter, who, according to Berry, refuses to speak to him when he sends people to jail.
College is extremely stressful. It leads us to binge eat junk food, drink spastic amounts of coffee, pull all-nighters and spend countless hours in front of computer screens without exercise. And many of us, myself included, feel our future careers hinge on the quality of our performance in these four years. Talk about pressure.
Just yesterday, about 1,400 workers from two more oil refineries — BP’s Whiting and Toledo, Ohio operations — joined the strike, now 11 refineries strong. The Climate March walked through both of these refineries. I imagine some of the very same workers we spoke to in Whiting are now risking their livelihood to demand better working conditions.
Tonight I have filled the hiking backpack I got for Christmas to the brim with all the supplies and equipment I will need for a five day, 53 mile journey from my home in Geneva to my second home in Ithaca. After I finish this blog post I will go to bed and try to get a full night’s rest, because tomorrow, for the first time in a while, I will be rising with the sun to walk.
Before myself and my comrades began lining up in front of Crestwood Midstream’s gates on Route 14 just north of Watkins Glen, I never put much thought into the area jails. I had no clue that there was a jail in Watkins Glen right across the street from the picturesque state park, and I admit to not even knowing that there was a jail in each county. Now I find these various jails to be at an almost constant forefront of my mind.
I looked around the crowd and saw mostly familiar faces. Our words were not falling on any new ears, let alone any ears belonging to a person who had the authority to create immediate action and change.