Nationwide Climate March makes its mark on Greensburg

“It is the biggest threat we face right now,” said John Atherton, associate professor of philosophy at Seton Hill University. The Great March for Climate Action came through south Greensburg on Oct. 16. Presentations at Reeves Theatre were held a day later from 3-5 p.m. The march started in Los Angeles, CA and planned to end in Washington DC.

Their goal is to change the hearts and minds of the American people, our elected leaders and people across the world, to act now to address the climate crisis. 50-60 people stopped to speak to Seton Hill University.

“There were two of the marchers that spoke to the group, Kathy and John,” Tori Vallana, a leader in the Leaders of Environmental Protection and Awareness club (LEAP) said. “They shared their experiences, explained what life is like being on the march, and explained why they are doing the march and what they hope to accomplish.” Vallana said, “They were very open to questions and suggestions.”

“It was a fairly small event, only about 10-15 people came, mostly students.” Vallana said, “It was very casual and informal.” The students who came were able to talk one on one with the marchers and hear more about global warming and the climate change.

“It was more like we got to sit down and have a conversation with them rather than a presentation.” Vallana said, “There was not an overwhelming amount of people at the event, but that was almost a benefit because we each got to personally speak to the marchers. It was evident that the students that were there genuinely cared about the environment, climate change, and what we can do to help with those efforts on campus.”

Atherton said, “We just have to face it. We can no longer use the sky as a garbage dump.” The climate change is an issue more people are becoming aware of. “We have ‘D’ level air in Westmoreland County.”

Gardening is one way Atherton mentioned that would help reduce methane gas and carbon dioxide. “If we grow our own vegetables we don’t have to bring it in.” He also said, “Composting is a brilliant move.”

“In 2009 the compost started,” Darren Achtezhn, an employee in food service at Seton Hill University, said. “We wanted to change the culture on campus.” The campus compost uses vegetables, scraps, eggshells, and other items. “The material from the compost is put into the Green Tread Garden, flower gardens, or anywhere that needs dirt,” Achtezhn said, “About 60 to 65 pounds go into the compost a week.” There are two composts currently on campus near the far side of the kitchen.

Other ways to reduce carbon dioxide and methane gas into our atmosphere is to “take transits, bicycling and we need more car-pulling. It gives us more exercise, less accidents, and easier parking.” Atherton said, “There are ways to do these things that we don’t ever think of.”

“Everyone was excited to have the opportunity to meet these marchers and bounce ideas around for how we can effectively help our environment from individual, campus wide, and global perspectives.” Vallana said.


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