‘We’re dedicated to environmental justice’: Student group urges UNM to update climate plan

Community Reports

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A group of students, graduate workers and alumni are calling on the University of New Mexico to update its climate plan. UNM Leaf, UNM Graduate Workers and NM Climate Justice held an Earth Day Rally Thursday, urging President Stokes to update and implement a climate plan that would achieve a carbon-free campus by 2035, restart regular greenhouse gas emission inventories, electrify UNM’s shuttles and fleet and reduce food waste.


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Kineo Memmer, LEAF student coordinator, said they want the university to take meaningful action on climate change. “As the flagship university for New Mexico, we should be a leader in climate action and we’re kind of falling behind. We want them to take action now and protect our futures,” Memmer said.

The group marched through campus and delivered a packet of information, letters and a petition to the office of President Stokes. Additionally, they included the environmental resolutions passed by the Associated Students of the University of New Mexico.

Sophia Jenkins-Nieto said she hopes this brings awareness and action beyond just Earth Day events. “We’re dedicated to environmental justice, which includes social and racial justice as well. We are hoping for UNM to divest their endowment from fossil fuels which directly harms communities of color in a disproportionate way,” Jenkins-Nieto said.

Raven Alcott said climate change will impact everyone, especially traditionally underserved communities. “We want them to divest from fossil fuels and implement more climate courses and education. Climate change intersects a lot of issues, especially here in Albuquerque. There’s so many issues that affect so many people,” Alcott said. “I’m thankful for everyone who came out today and everyone who takes steps throughout their day to help the environment.”

The group has been in communication with President Stokes’ office about creating a President’s Task Force on climate. Their hope is that through the task force, they’re able to communicate some of the things they’d like to see change on campus such as implementing more climate and environmental education and divestment. “We just want to show that the UNM community is in support of President Stokes taking climate action, which is why we’re here today. It’s a culmination of all our work to show her that we care,” Jenkins-Nieto said.

UNM LEAF is a coalition of students, faculty, staff and alumni campaigning for UNM to declare a climate emergency: divest, go carbon neutral by 2030, and include climate justice education.

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