Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Local News

October 24, 2009

GC students, community call for climate change

Environmental concerns took center stage in Goshen Saturday as members of Goshen College and the surrounding community joined together for a global call to action on climate change.

Part of the international “350” movement created by environmental activist Bill McKibben, the day’s events began at noon on the college campus with a community lunch, songs and speakers aimed at bringing awareness to what many see as an increasingly detrimental global environmental breakdown.

The event then migrated to the Goshen Courthouse lawn where the festivities continued despite chilly temperatures and rain with additional speakers and inspirational music.

“This is actually part of a global movement,” said Alana Kenagy, a Goshen College student and one of the event’s organizers. “There are 5,200 actions in 182 countries around the world today, all organized around the number 350, which is the safe amount of parts-per-million of carbon that we can have in the atmosphere. Right now we have 389 parts-per-million of carbon in our atmosphere, so the movement is to push leaders to decide on strong climate policy.

“It’s a really big chance for our world to make a change in the way we live, and the purpose of this movement is to show how many people care about this issue, because it’s the most important thing facing our world today,” she said.

Kenagy, a native of Albany, Ore., said environmental issues are something that have always been important to her, so much so that she is even putting her college career on hold a bit in order to devote more time to the cause.

“I’m actually going half-time in school right now so I can devote more time to organizing environmentally, because it’s really important that we do this now,” Kenagy said. “I can’t wait until I get out of college to try to do this, because climate change isn’t waiting on us.

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Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

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