On an unusually hot day in November 2015 I stopped by my local coffee shop in Parktown, a suburb of South Africa’s thriving Johannesburg. I ordered my chai and went to take a seat, and I couldn’t help but notice a paper sitting there on the counter with a title that read “5 dead after extreme heat wave rolls through Mpumalanga.”
Upon further digging, I discovered that these deadly heat waves were becoming increasingly common to rural communities across South Africa’s Northeastern region, as well as Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Botswana. In the recent summers the communities have witnessed temperatures that have never been seen before, and will likely continue to do so as the climate morphs and the planet heats. Weather events with deadly, record-high temperatures occurring all across the globe are becoming increasingly common. Despite overwhelming evidence of anthropogenic climate change, the United States now has an administration that denies it is occurring.
Trump and the Republicans’ climate denial is risking our future for the sake of profit and greed. His administration is an ally and a friend of the fossil fuel industry, threatening the progress we’ve made so far. A president that refuses to recognize the United State's role in mitigating climate change is deadly for our generation and those who will be forced to suffer from extreme weather events, rising seas, and political instability.
The stakes for the climate movement have never been higher, which is why students across the country are mobilising a platform of resistance and rejection to Trump’s agenda of climate denial. As part of the wider divestment movement, Fossil Free UCSC is taking action on Monday January 23rd at 11:30 am in the form of a class walk out. We are demonstrating our rejection of climate denial within the first 100 hours of Trump’s presidency to call on the UC Regents and Regent Sherman to divest from fossil fuels.
It is imperative that the UC Regents make the choice to divest from fossil fuels in the crosshairs of the incoming administration. They have a choice and an opportunity to lead with us, and to pave the way for sustainable solutions if they choose to divest. They have the chance to secure the future of generations to come and the chance to choose justice. UC Regents - the time to act is now. Stand with us and lead with us by divesting from fossil fuels.
Lexi Daoussis is a student at UC Santa Cruz and part of the UCSC Fossil Free campaign. For more information on the #ResistRejectDenial Day of Action on Monday January 23rd, click here.