On January 21, 2019 students from NCC’s Climate Action Network and Sustainability Committee, led by Professor Anita Forrester, visited Harrisburg,PA. The students coordinated with the Better Path Coalition and Delaware Water Keeper to address the urgency of climate change and demand that Governor Wolf uphold Article 1, Section 27 of the Pennsylvania Constitution which states,
“The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment.”
The group marched to the State Capitol building chanting, “What do we want? Clean Water. When do we want it? Now. What do we want? Clean Air. When do we want it? Now. What do we want? Clean Energy. When do we want it? Now.”
The Wolf Administration ran on a clean energy campaign and has made many promises to address climate change yet his policies have continued to allow dangerous, environmentally degrading pipelines to spread across the state.
The PA Constitution was written to protect citizens of PA from environmental destruction. The group exercised their first amendment right to assemble and address their grievance. They gathered on the steps of the Capitol Building and lit candles as they sang Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A’Changin’.”
The following day the group gathered in the rotunda along with children dressed as Dr. Suess’ character The Lorax. They spoke their message to the crowd and to the local news outlets. Then they delivered copies of The Lorax, a cautionary tale of what will happen if we degrade our environment, to each of the PA representatives and legislators.
The group, led by the Lorax children, headed to Governor Wolf’s office to hand deliver a petition of 10,000 signatures from students and PA residents from across the state demanding he uphold Article 1, Section 27 and protect our right to a safe and healthy environment because our future depends on it. At first the Governor refused to see them, hiding behind a closed door. He sent his staffer to set up an appointment but the children said they were patient and could wait until he wasn’t too busy. He eventually greeted them and shook their hands and accepted the petitions.
Today, as I write this, the Department of Environmental Protection announced that PA will be halting permits for natural gas pipelines. An enormous victory and hopefully just the beginning of an environmental revolution! I cannot help but think that the Lorax had something to do with it. PennLive Article