Climate Protesters Disrupting South Bend and THE Game

Saying he was not doing enough to combat the climate crisis in his home town of South Bend, The Hill reports that the Sunrise Movement staged a sit-in at Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s office on Friday.  And then on Saturday, students at the annual Yale-Harvard football game brought it to a halt for nearly an hour when protesters from both universities (including some of the football players) took the field in protest with banners that said things like, “Nobody wins. Yale and Harvard are complicit in climate injustice,” and called on both universities to divest from fossil fuels companies.

Why This Matters:  The Sunrise Movement’s new pressure on Mayor Pete shows that his move up in the Democratic pack will bring with it some additional scrutiny and criticism because his climate positions are more moderate than some of the other leading candidates.  We too applaud the Harvard Yale protests — certainly, they got attention not only with the media but also with alums as well.  Boola Boola!  At the same time, the Ivy Leaguers’ included a generational critique because the protesters at one point chanted “OK, Boomer.”  Ouch.  We have just one thing to say to that taunt, Gen Zers. Don’t just yell — VOTE!

South Bend’s Climate Policies

The City is set to vote on a tougher climate blueprint on Monday.  So far, Mayor Pete in his Presidential campaign has proposed a $2B climate plan that gets to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and he says he supports an “achievable” Green New Deal.  In response to the protesters, a campaign spokesperson told The Hill, “Under Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s leadership, the City of South Bend has prioritized sustainability and action to address the climate change crisis. From constructing the first LEED-certified South Bend city government buildings, to implementing green infrastructure in neighborhoods throughout the area, to responding to historic flooding caused by climate change, the Mayor has led from the front on climate.”

‘The Game” – How’d It End? In Tears

The protesters at the football game received supportive tweets from some Democratic presidential candidates including Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders, though interestingly not Harvard alum Mayor Pete.  The student organizers and many of the protesters were arrested, but told NPR they considered the protest a huge success.  NPR interviewed Harvard senior Caleb Schwartz, one of the protest organizers who was arrested on Saturday, who said that the mood on the field was joyful, despite the possibility of arrest.

“That moment, when we saw people running onto the field was just really incredible,” he told NPR. “I saw organizers around me crying because it was such a beautiful moment.”

Oh, and Yale came from behind to beat Harvard in OT, just before the game was about to be suspended for darkness.

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