SUNY students lay in body bags to illustrate climate change’s deadly effects

Members​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Climate​ ​Action​ ​Club​ ​at​ SUNY New Paltz ​laid​ ​down​ ​in​ ​five​ ​body​ ​bags​ ​outside​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Humanities Building​ ​on​ ​campus on Monday, November 13. (Brandon Doerrer| The New Paltz Oracle)

Today,​ ​the​ ​effects​ ​of​ ​climate​ ​change​ ​are​ ​as​ ​apparent​ ​as​ ​ever.​ ​In​ ​the​ ​last​ ​few​ ​months alone,​ ​there​ ​have​ ​been​ ​wildfires​ ​in​ ​Northern​ ​California,​ ​as​ ​well​ ​as​ ​several​ ​hurricanes​ ​affecting​ ​areas including​, ​but​ ​not​ ​limited​ ​to,​ ​Texas,​ ​Puerto​ ​Rico,​ ​Florida​ ​and​ ​the​ ​Virgin​ ​Islands.​ ​These​ ​instances​ ​resulted in​ ​hundreds​ ​of​ ​casualties,​ ​as​ ​well​ ​as​ ​billions​ ​of​ ​dollars​ ​worth​ ​of​ ​damage.

Members​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Climate​ ​Action​ ​Club​ ​at​ SUNY New Paltz  ​laid​ ​down​ ​in​ ​five​ ​body​ ​bags​ ​outside​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Humanities Building​ ​on​ ​campus on Monday, November 13 to draw attention to the problem.​ ​The stories of the “victims” were posted in front of their bodies for passing students to read. ​They​ ​were​ ​then​ ​encouraged​ ​to sign​ ​the​ ​“I​ ​pledge”​ ​sign,​ ​indicating​ ​what​ ​they​ ​were​ ​going​ ​to​ ​do​ ​to​ ​help​ ​stop​ ​climate​ ​change.​ ​Next​ ​to​ ​the body​ ​bags​ ​was​ ​a​ ​map​ ​with​ ​red​ ​string,​ ​connecting​ ​the​ ​countries​ ​that​ ​were​ ​most​ ​vulnerable​ ​to​ ​the​ ​effects​ ​of climate​ ​change.​ ​Above​ ​the​ ​demonstration​ ​included​ ​a​ ​large​ ​banner​ ​stating,​ ​“Climate​ ​Change​ ​Casualties.”


“The goal​ ​of​ ​this​ ​demonstration​ ​is​ ​to​ ​show​ ​the​ ​community​ ​that​ ​people​ ​are​ ​dying​ ​from​ ​climate​ ​change​ ​each​ ​and every​ ​day,” said Nicholas​ ​Leone,​  ​president​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Climate​ ​Action​ ​Club. “​These​ ​so​-​called​ ​‘natural​ ​disasters’​ ​aren’t​ ​as​ ​natural​ ​as​ ​we​ ​claim​ ​they​ ​are,​ ​and​ ​climate​ ​change​ ​is certainly​ ​intensifying​ ​these​ ​storms​ ​tremendously.​ ​This​ ​isn’t​ ​a​ ​future​ ​problem,​ ​this​ ​is​ ​a​ ​now​ ​problem.”

“When​ ​you​ ​put​ ​a​ ​face to​ ​an​ ​issue,​ ​it’s​ ​far​ ​easier​ ​to​ ​empathize​ ​with​ ​what’s​ ​going​ ​on,” said ​​Leith​ ​Kusmider. “​That​ ​is​ ​what​ ​we​ ​are​ ​trying​ ​to​ ​evoke​ ​out​ ​of the​ ​spectators.”