Bears, students rally on global warming

Students, faculty members and polar bears gathered outside Erwin Hall on Tuesday evening to rally against global warming.

The event - organized by the Geneseo Environmental Organization - was held to raise awareness about human dependence on oil and encourage the community to take a firmer, more proactive stance against global warming.

As the sixth stroke of the Sturges bell rang across the quad, two students emerged from Wadsworth Auditorium dressed as ill-fated polar bears.

GEO Secretary Adam Kroopnick, a sophomore, kicked off the demonstration by delivering a short speech and presenting several proponents of environmental degradation with "April Foolie" awards.

"If you ask anyone at Geneseo why they attend college, the word 'future' invariably comes up," said Kroopnick. "Students invest four years of their lives here and professors invest many more. It is time that we step up and ensure that future."

Winners of the April Foolie awards included Ken Lewis, CEO of Bank of America; Patricia Woertz, CEO of Archer Daniels Midland; and the current White House administration.

According to the Energy Action Coalition, founders of the Foolie, "Bank of America is the leading financial backer of mountaintop-removal coal mining in the United States and a top funder of new coal-fired power plants."

The EAC describes Woertz as a "key contributor to global warming for clearing pristine rainforests around the world for the production of oil for food and industrial biofuels that produce as many or more climate-changing carbon emissions as traditional fossil fuels."

President George Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney were presented with a lifetime achievement award for their career-long efforts to "deny the reality and impacts of global climate change, promote carbon-intensive energy solutions, and block any and all attempts at progress on climate change," according to the EAC.

Kroopnick told students that the rally was more a celebration than a vigil.

"People give the doom and gloom speech all the time, and it can be overwhelming for any individual who hears it," he said. "Our goal is to let people know that there are others who share their views - that there are groups that they can be a part of. They don't have to flounder in the deep sea alone."

Participants lingered after the meeting in order to exchange ideas and plan future environmental activism.

Senior Nolan Quinn was optimistic about the potential for fossil-fuel abatement.

"I see global climate change as a huge problem," Quinn said. "But I also see it as one which has solutions that can be implemented immediately once our voices are heard."

The Geneseo Environmental Organization meets every Monday in Milne 104 at 7 p.m. For more information on The Energy Action Coalition, visit their Web site: