At the corner of 13th Street and Berks Mall on Thursday, Oct. 5, an organization asked students passing by to do something besides apply for credit cards or buy cell phones: help save the planet.
Temple University’s Green Students for Environmental Awareness, or GreenSEA, participated in a national call-in campaign to the White House in an effort to raise awareness of the fight to end global warming. Members of GreenSEA stopped Temple students and had them call a White House representative and express their desire to see a commitment to reducing America’s greenhouse gas emissions.
The World Wildlife Fund, in its first action of this kind, sponsored the daylong campaign at campuses throughout the nation. Green Corps, an organization that helps form local environmental groups and train leaders across the country, also supported the effort at eight colleges, according to Green Corps regional director Liam Burnell.
In front of a banner which read “Save the World: Make the Call,” more than 100 Temple students phoned the White House. GreenSEA encouraged students to voice their own convictions, but also provided a prepared statement from the World Wildlife Fund for the students to read.
The statement specifically called for the United States to sign the Kyoto Protocol at an upcoming Hague conference on unifying private international law. The Kyoto Treaty is a document, negotiated by 171 countries at a 1997 conference in Kyoto, Japan, which calls for a five percent reduction of gas emissions in the next 10 years.
A U.S. representative signed the treaty in 1998, but the U.S. Senate has not yet voted to ratify the agreement, mainly because it wants other nations to join before committing to the task.
The treaty is a topic of debate among the presidential candidates in this election. When the second televised debate turned to the topic of the environment and foreign affairs, Vice President Al Gore restated his support of America’s participation in the international accord.
Texas Governor George W. Bush, however, said he opposes the large burden the treaty would place on the United States.