Demanding Change

We are called to build a better future by our Jesuit roots, and to fight for those affected by the climate crisis. Here’s where we can start.

Activists In Brussels Join The Global Climate Strike
Activists In Brussels Join The Global Climate Strike / Image by Jack Taylor/Stringer via Getty Images

Could you hear them on the streets? From Belgium to Toyoko, in India and New York, protesters marched out of hope and fear, desiring and earning the world’s attention. The future—strikers—for the climate argue, is something worth saving.

Or as Pope Francis put it: “Young people demand change,” he wrote in his encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si’. “They wonder how anyone can claim to be building a better future without thinking of the environmental crisis and the sufferings of the excluded.”

As the international marches of September pushed for broad policy change, Santa Clara brought it to a personal level: What do we do to help? “We need to make a U-turn for humanity and the planet’s ability to sustain life as we know it,” says Kristin Kusanovich ’88, a senior lecturer in dance who is spearheading an effort called tUrn.

For one week in October, every class and club took on environmental justice: Engineering students focused on carbon capture. Dance students choreographed works based on environmental themes. Francis’ encyclical was read filibuster-style.

But a day of marching or week of learning is not enough to deliver environmental justice.

Santa Clara pledges to promote research and teaching partnerships focused on environmental justice over the next three years, a response to the Pope’s call for solidarity with people who face severe threats to their environments and health.

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