Workshop warms up to climate change activism

Xavier professors Anas Malik of the political science department and Kathleen Smythe, chair of the history department, have launched an initiative to discuss climate change and advocate for legislation to combat this growing concern.

The Climate Change Action Workshop created by Professors Anas Malik and Kathleen Smythe will engage in climate change activism work.

The resulting Climate Change Action Workshop is a biweekly program that is open to Xavier students, faculty and staff.

Each meeting will engage with a different part of climate change through discussion and action. The activism aspect of the workshop will vary from letter writing to sending emails and making phone calls to writing editorials.

Smythe explained that the work of former Xavier professor Elizabeth Groppe is where the initiative has its origins.

“Two years ago, she put together a group of faculty to go and talk to Senator Rob Portman and encouraged a group from Xavier to go this year as well,” Smythe said.

Joined by the Director of Sustainability at the University of Dayton, Malik, Smythe and John Fairfield from the history department attended a meeting at Portman’s office at the start of this semester.

Above, first-year Mercy Torres protests at the Cincinnati Climate Strike, demanding more sustainable legislation and climate change policies.

The result of that meeting was the new Climate Change Action Workshop.

At their first meeting on Wednesday Jan. 29, the workshop focused on what Portman has done to promote sustainability and combat climate change, emphasizing the senator’s previous voting record.

“We try to frame things in terms of not only upcoming voters, but also jobs,” Malik said. “There are these psychological dimensions of eco- grief and eco-anxiety that we wanted to try to address as tangible things that people are experiencing.”

The group will meet every other Wednesday in Alter 310 at 11:00 a.m. to discuss differing dimensions of climate change in conjunction with an activism activity.