The Claremont Colleges will join more than 50 campuses nationwide today, Oct. 2, for Know Tomorrow, a nationwide campaign to raise awareness about climate change. Over 30 environmental organizations and a number of partner vendors will set up booths on Pomona College's Walker Beach for an activity fair from noon to 3 p.m.
The process began when last spring, Tommy Erb PO ’18 connected with Wendy Abrams, founder of the environmental non-profit organization Cool Globes, the organizer of Know Tomorrow. Since then, Erb has organized a leadership team of about 10 students from four of the five Claremont Colleges in preparation for Know Tomorrow's National Day of Action on Oct. 2.
Chloe An PO ’18, a member of the Know Tomorrow Claremont leadership team, said that the purpose of Know Tomorrow is to “empower snake person voices about climate change.”
“I think it’s easy to talk about climate change in our classes theoretically, but it’s really about showing that this is an important issue to us,” An said. “I think this is one of the most important issues of our generation. It’s really going to impact either us or our children, so I really hope that this is an issue that Claremont students care about.”
Nationwide, 55 colleges and universities will participate in the day of action. In addition to presentations on climate change, the fair will include a food packaging event hosted by Friends and Family Community Connection during which 48 volunteers will package 6,000 meals in one hour. 4,000 of the meals will be donated to Central City Lutheran Mission in San Bernardino. The second part of the day will be a three-part speaker series from 4 to 8 p.m. in Rose Hills Theater.
“The overarching goal is really to launch this campaign and get known, get people and support,” Erb said. “Students can come in and network with some of the leaders in this movement. That also goes for the speakers; you can have a one-on-one conversation with someone who’s in the environmental movement making a real difference, who could possibly inspire you or give you the opportunity to do whatever it is you want to do.”
According to Isabella Levin SC ’17, a member of the leadership team, Know Tomorrow Claremont hopes to educate people about climate change and accumulate momentum to demand solutions in anticipation of a United Nations climate treaty this December.
“It’s really exciting to see that happen in front of your eyes and to have a little role in that,” Levin said.
According to Erb, Know Tomorrow Claremont may become a 5C environmental activist club with a focus on carbon pricing. Erb will be featured in the second season of National Geographic's documentary series “Years of Living Dangerously,” which hails carbon pricing as the solution to climate change. The documentary makers filmed interviews with Erb and Pomona President David Oxtoby on Sept. 24.
“It’s great that Claremont college students are taking a leadership role in this issue. I see this as potentially the beginning of a significant political movement,” Oxtoby said.
According to Pomona Chief Communications Officer Marylou Perry, the college's administration is in full support of Know Tomorrow Claremont, providing “logistical support” and “helping to get the word out to the community.”
“I think student campaigns are critical in the education of the public in our global challenges, as well as helping us create solutions,” said Devon Hartman, executive director of Claremont Home Energy Retrofit Project and Claremont Energy Challenge.
During the Day of Action, Hartman will speak about the importance of community engagement and local action in solving global problems.
“October 2 is just really the launch date,” Erb said. “Once we have everyone united, we can figure out what’s the best line of action to make a real difference on climate change. It’s a moral issue and really a question of survival for us.”