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Disruption Brings Activism to Roanoke College

Photo Courtesy of Google Images
Photo Courtesy of Google Images

By Shannon Allen


On    23, the Environmental Studies Program along with Earthbound club held a documentary screening followed by a panel discussion. The event was held in Massengill and open to the public. It attracted students from Roanoke College, members of the community, and even a handful of students from environmental groups at Ferrum College. The documentary was Disruption, a 2014 documentary on climate change by Kelly Nyks and Jared P. Scott. The event began with a short speech by Chaplain Chris Bowen who stressed the need for environmental stewardship amongst Lutherans worldwide. He explained that demonstrating an environmentally-sound lifestyle is the key to getting others to adopt that lifestyle as well. The documentary began shortly after.

Disruption focuses on climate change as an issue by centering it around the People’s Climate March, which was held in September of 2014. This particular documentary focused on the amount of time humans have to change carbon emission habits until a threshold is crossed and the environment change begins to snowball. Overall, the film lasted an hour and captivated the entire audience in Massengill.

After the film, there was a panel with professionals in the field of environmental activism. The panel included: Dr. Diana Christopulous, President, Roanoke Valley Cool Cities Coalition; John Richardson, Ferrum College, and Al Gore Institute; Dan Crawford, Roanoke Director Sierra Club; Freeda Cathcart, Environmental Activist, Reinsurance Specialist, and Roanoke College Class of ’83; Eddie Seay, OFA Leader SWVA, and Environmental and Immigration Reform Activist.  All of the panel members had insightful and inspiring things to say to the youth who attended the event.

Topics of discussion during the panel ranged far beyond climate change and linked the climate change movement to that of the civil rights movement and yesteryear and the LGBT movement of today. The panel tied them together in that it takes masses of people pressuring the government to promote change for the betterment of the people. The Mountain Valley Pipeline planned to run through the Roanoke Valley was also discussed among panelists with Dan Crawford describing it, “I see the pipelines as the tentacles of a greater and more sinister monster.” Without a doubt, the pipeline was the biggest issue discussed by the panelists.  Freeda Cathcart passed out fliers to attendees urging them to support solar energy rather than petrol products. The fliers contained Virginia House of Delegates member, Greg Habeeb’s contact information urging the audience to write to him, and supports HB1950/SB1395 in support of solar panels.

The event concluded around 9:00 p.m. Earthbound Co-President Rachel Stewart thought the event a success overall, and said, “There were great words of wisdom to the student body and community.”

The next Earthbound event is Global Divestment day on Feb. 15 and will be held with Divest Roanoke College.