UF senior working to bring awareness of climate change to campus

By MC Bell | gargoyle@flagler.edu

A senior at the University of Florida, Marcela Mulholland is the leader of two organizations on campus dedicated to fighting climate change. This includes the Sunrise Movement – a nationwide organization that’s fighting for a transition to 100 percent sustainable energy while producing millions of new jobs for Americans by 2030.

They are also pushing for every Democrat who runs in the presidential primaries in 2021 to have a policy for climate change on their agendas.

Organizations like the Sunrise Movement were created in response to the startling results of a UN report that came out in October 2018.

According to Petteri Taalas, Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization, “There will be 420 million people less suffering because of climate change if we would be able to limit the warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius level, and we have certain areas in the world which are extremely sensitive. Small island states, Mediterranean region and also sub-Saharan Africa is already suffering and will suffer more in the future.”

Mulholland participated in a fellowship with the Sunrise Movement last year and worked with other leaders of the organization to elect officials in Florida that take climate change seriously.

“I was based out of Orlando and we were working on electing political leaders in Florida who had pledged to not take money from fossil fuel billionaires and CEOs, and prioritize the health of people and the planet,” she said.

This semester, Mulholland along with her classmates are bringing the Sunrise Movement to their campus.

“Last week we hosted a live stream watch party because Sunrise nationally hosted a watch party about the Green New Deal,” she said. “Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey just proposed the Green New Deal in Congress. I’m also working with Sunrise National on various spokesperson stuff that they asked me to do.”

Although she has made some noise on campus, Mulholland was not always this engaged in politics.

“I voted in the primary and I voted in the general election, but I didn’t do anything else really. I didn’t really feel too motivated to work to elect a candidate, but I knew that voting was important,” she said. “I started taking some classes and learning about various environmental predicaments and felt really overwhelmed by the scale of these problems. That was happening around the same time that the 2016 presidential elections were kind of picking up.”

The outcome of the election sparked an interest in Mulholland.

“In the few days after Trump won, I was feeling super radicalized and extreme and I just couldn’t understand why we were all just walking around pretending like climate change isn’t happening,” she said. “I wore a freaking sign that says climate change is real. It was a stark contrast between the world view that I was developing personally and the sharp turn for the worst from my perspective. So that was kind of a wakeup call for me to become more civically engaged.”

Now her mission is finding more support for the Green New Deal and persuading those who don’t agree with it.

“My goal or my hopes are that the Sunrise Movement is able to play a role in changing the political dynamics surrounding climate change,” she said. “I would like to see by 2021 the Green New Deal passed and signed into law that puts us on track to be based off of 100 percent clean energy by 2030, which is what the leading climate scientists of the world that the United Nations say we need to do if we want to avoid the worst of climate catastrophe.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Be the first to comment on "UF senior working to bring awareness of climate change to campus"

Leave a comment