Campus Climate Activists Build on Momentum of UC Climate March at First Friday Meeting

Julianna Domingo / The Triton

The UC San Diego Green New Deal hosted a First Friday meeting at the Natural Sciences Building (NSB) Auditorium last Friday to organize and plan campaigns that could pressure UCSD into further addressing the ongoing climate crisis.

Building on the momentum from September’s Climate March, students, faculty, staff, and community members came together to discuss the future of climate advocacy on campus. Second-year doctoral student and UCSD Green New Deal organizer Peter Sloan opened the meeting by recapping the march and highlighting the movement’s goals.

UCSD Green New Deal is advocating for the integration of climate education into the university’s curriculum, carbon neutrality by 2025, and the creation of a UC-wide Green New Deal. The meeting later broke off into three groups to discuss a plan of action for each issue.

Psychology professor and climate activist Adam Aron led a presentation on UCSD’s 2019 Climate Action Plan (CAP). The university plans to reach carbon neutrality by 2025, but Professor Aron argues it is not on track to meet this goal.

“I need to see change where I am in San Diego,” said Aron. “I need to see it at UCSD. I need to see in a few years that we can reduce carbon emissions at UCSD.”

The CAP includes detailed analysis of where greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced, but  UCSD Green New Deal organizer and fourth-year Cognitive Behavioral Neuroscience student Yuval Baharav said that the university still has not fully specified exactly how it will meet these goals by 2025.

“The big goal is to effectively pressure the UCSD administration to rapidly decarbonize,” said Baharav. “We need institutional change, and UCSD is a really big little city. If we can do this here, we can create both a standard and a model and move in the right direction.”

Along with an inventory of university greenhouse emissions, the plan includes nine subsections of policy recommendations ranging from promoting a culture of turning the lights off to increasing renewable energy and purchasing carbon offsets

Micah Perlin, a State Assembly District candidate seeking to represent UCSD, attended the First Friday meeting to express his support for the Green New Deal platform and said he will continue to support climate activism if elected.

The UCSD Green New Deal will continue to meet every Friday from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the NSB Auditorium.

Julianna Domingo is Staff Writer at The Triton. You can follow her @juliannawtvr.