Earth Day, April 22, is a day when people celebrate and thank the planet we live on, but why not celebrate and protect the Earth every day?

According to Kayla Curry, junior sociology major at Missouri State and Sunrise member, the Sunrise Movement Springfield is an organization made up of young progressives who desire real leadership and a systemic change for battling the climate crisis.

On Earth Day in 2020, Sunrise Movement Springfield planned a strike but it was canceled by the pandemic. On Facebook, the organization expressed their excitement to be able to host a strike and guest speakers such as Tori Cheatham from Renew Missouri, State Representative Betsy Fogel and others for Earth day 2021 at the Jordan Valley Park Amphitheater. 

“We had been planning a strike since last year,” Curry said. “This was our first strike and first real event ever, so it was small but still such a great turnout.”

Katie Chandler, sophomore socio-political communications major and Sunrise member, said the strike was important for showing climate activists that there is a community that will rally with them and that they are not alone. 

“We can’t accomplish much alone, but together we can reach for the stars,” Chandler said.

According to the Missouri Coalition for the Environment, climate change in Missouri is affecting the health and livelihoods of Missourians due to the increase in pests, flooding and extreme weather.

“Right now, we're seeing crazy weather such as a snow day in April,” Chandler said, who predicted “crazy” weather will only increase if there is no change.

Curry said she felt like it was easy to feel alone in Springfield as a climate activist. 

“The fight against climate change doesn’t have to be a losing one,” Curry said. “I think it (the strike) was an important reminder to us and to our community that even in Springfield change is possible, and it’s happening.” 

Not only do members of the Sunrise Movement Springfield want change in the community, they are also looking for change on Missouri State’s campus. 

“Missouri State has the foundations to take sustainability to the next level; now it’s about going past the small things such as reduce, reuse, recycle and start thinking bigger,” Chandler said. “We’re past the awareness stage. We must move into the action stage.”

Curry and Chandler said the Sunrise Movement Springfield social media pages such as Facebook and Instagram @sunrisespringfield announce when Zoom meetings are and will pick up with events next semester. 

Disclaimer: Kayla Curry formerly wrote for The Standard.


Follow Makayla Strickland on Twitter, m_strickland28

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