When Morgan Nivison ’15 learned about this fall’s People’s Climate March, there was no question in her mind that she wanted to take part in it. The environmental science systems major from Aurora, N.Y., quietly does what she can to reduce her carbon footprint – limiting the amount of non-reusable products she purchases, recycling what she can, and buying local products. However, the march was an opportunity for her to speak out, and to share her commitment to the earth in a very visible way ahead of the United Nations Climate Summit.

“I knew that we’d be making history,” she said. “However, I was mostly inspired to go because I wanted to show the leaders that change is necessary and that people do care.”

Nivison was one of 50 Le Moyne students who joined 400,000 people in taking part in the march while other similar demonstrations were being held around the world. Led by Larry Tanner, Ph.D., professor of biological sciences, and Don McCrimmon, Ph.D., McDevitt research associate, the students advocated for a world that, as march organizers described it, is safe from climate change and which has good jobs, clean air and water, and healthy communities.

"This event was an opportunity for Le Moyne students to become activists, to take part in a larger cause, and it was immensely gratifying to see so many of our students dedicate their time and energies to this,” said Tanner, who likened it to protests of the war in Vietnam in the 1960s and 70s. “It is important for all of our students to understand that by getting involved, they can make a difference.”

Like Nivison, Samantha Peltz ’15 of Skaneateles is passionate about the environment and committed to the idea that people have the capacity to develop long-term solutions to reduce the impact of climate change. Following the People’s Climate March, she and a friend, Andy DeAngelo, created a documentary titled Save the Humans that was screened this fall during the College’s Celebration of the Feast of Saint Francis, the patron saint of animals and the environment. Aimed at college communities, the film addresses many of the issues surrounding a changing climate and how it can impact us in the future.

“Climate change is a social justice issue because in order for humans to thrive, we need a livable climate,” said Peltz. “As the climate falls apart, families and communities fall with it. Our lives depend on a healthy planet."