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ASMSU and MRULE host environmental justice and legislation roundtable

April 22, 2022
<p>Students engage in a discussion during the event where they gave opinions about how environmentally conscious the world is. ASMSU hosted the Environmental Justice and Legislation event during Earth Week on April 19, 2022. </p>

Students engage in a discussion during the event where they gave opinions about how environmentally conscious the world is. ASMSU hosted the Environmental Justice and Legislation event during Earth Week on April 19, 2022.

Photo by Lauren DeMay | The State News

The Associated Students of Michigan State University, or ASMSU, and Multi Racial Unity Living Experience, or MRULE, joined forces in the MOSAIC conference room on April 19 to discuss topics like environmental justice, the current climate crisis and sustainability efforts as part of ASMSU's Earth Week series.

A total of 11 participants, including hosts ASMSU Emerging Leader Program Intern Emily Hoyumpa and MOSAIC supervisor Chloe Grigsby, attended the roundtable event.

One of the first topics discussed was the participant's thoughts on the current climate crisis, and how it made them feel.

Pre-nursing sophomore Grace Waldron was spoke about the fear she feels about the crisis in the future.

"I feel like in a lot of my classes, kind of like human bio classes, it's just talked about a ton and it's like all the kind of older professors are looking at our generation," Waldron said. "I always hear it's going to be like 'This is your generations problem, and you guys will fix it, and you will find a way,' but it's a lot to handle."

Humanities and pre-law sophomore Anna Gaskin reflected on that pressure, and said she felt overwhelmed due to her perception that her generation is being asked to solve previous ones' problems.

"It's a lot of pressure on us when it's not necessarily a problem we created," Gaskin said. "I just get so overwhelmed ... There's no solving it, but it's more like saving what we have."

Environmental justice was also a key issue discussed in the group. Hoyumpa adressed Native American voices being silenced as an example of injustice.

"A lot of indigenous voices in the environmental justice movement have been silenced," Hoyumpa said. "I think it's important that we take a moment to realize that, and also talk about why that is and what we can do."

Some indigenous voices were featured at the event, such as a video narrated by Potawatomi author Robin Wall Kimmerer being shown discussing the idea of a the "honorable harvest." The concept emphasizes the need to be reciprocal with the Earth when harvesting needs like food.

Participants took different things way from Kimmerer's words. Hoyumpa commented on the emphasized how respect was featured.

"It goes back to that idea of respecting one another as well," Hoyumpa said. "I've got a lot of respect for the idea of like sharing and communication, non-monetary exchange."

A recurring theme throughout the discussions was the idea of not blaming oneself for the climate crisis. Statistics showing that 100 corporations are responsible for 70% of global emissions brought equal parts frustration and insight.

Many of the participants noted the options the world has to avoid the most severe consequences of climate change. However, they also believed individual efforts weren't enough.

"You could change your diet and you could drive an electric car, all these little things," Waldron said. "But it's really the big corporations that are actually making the difference."

Overall, Hoyumpa and Grigsby were happy with the events turnout, and the potential for future partnerships between their organizations.

"It was a really good turnout, at least for me. Especially since this was the first time we've ever done something like this," Hoyumpa said. "This is the start, I believe, of an MRULE and ASMSU partnership for things to come."

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