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Spooked by Climate Change at IC: "Climate Caspers" Join Global Grassroots Environmental Day of Action

Written by Meghan Swope

"Climate Caspers" posed in front of the Ithaca College seal to call for strong action on the world climate crisis. All photos by Jeff Goodwin '10

Visitors to the Office of Admission on October 23 experienced a frightening surprise, as dozens of ghosts took over the outdoor patio of the Peggy R. Williams Center.

These "climate Caspers" were only some of the nearly 200 students, alumni, faculty, and staff who came together in support of 350.org’s global day of action to stop climate change.

Slideshow best if viewed in full screen. Photos by Jeff Goodwin '10

More than 5,000 such events were held worldwide this past week.

Organized by students in the International Environmental Policy course in the Department of Environmental Studies, IC’s event was intended to spark interest and conversation leading up to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Copenhagen, Denmark, this December.

"Our class wanted to do something that communicated the importance and urgency of climate change to the rest of the campus community in a fun way, and I think we did just that today," said Dr. Susan Allen-Gil, the professor of the course and chair of the department.

"The students worked very hard on every aspect of this daunting project, from finding a source for over 300 used sheets, dyeing them and cutting out the eyes and mouths, to writing press releases and preparing posters, factoids, and stickers. They also lined up participants, photographers, and videographers."

Students from the class will attend the conference as delegates of Ithaca College, where they will be able to both observe negotiations and present an exhibit in an attempt to bring a public opinion poll to the U.N. delegation.

December’s UNFCCC represents a critical crossroads, as any agreement made in Copenhagen will replace the current Kyoto Protocol and will set emissions standards worldwide.

The treaty currently on the table will not reduce the level of CO2 in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million, the amount scientists believe is the safe upper limit to support ecological life as we know it.

These are just some of the reasons why nearly 200 members of the Ithaca College community convened on the Campus Center quad at noon and put on ghost costumes for Ithaca College’s own 350 photo.

The ghost costumes were blue at the bottom to represent the rising sea levels caused by climate change.

The climate Caspers arranged themselves in the shape of these three numbers, as student body president (and Fuse photo editor) Jeff Goodwin '10 was hoisted skyward in a cherry picker to take the photo.

As the climate Caspers were getting organized, a ghost in the crowd yelled, "Climate change is not cool!"

Others joined in with chants and cheers, excited to be a part of the movement. After the photo, ghosts paraded across campus chanting, "Hey! Ho! Climate change has got to go!"

As the parade arrived at the Peggy R. Williams Center, confused prospective students and their parents came out to take pictures and find out more about the mission of this flash mob.

The IC climate Caspers photo is one of more than 15,000 sent to 350.org.

Some of these photographs appeared on the big screen in Times Square and will be forwarded to the U.N. negotiators.

"It was so exhilarating to really make a difference," says Siobhan Cavanagh ’12.

1 Comment

Worst Photo-op or the worstest photo-op?

I'm sure all involved had great intentions but what were they thinking using this as a photo-op? The Fuse issue arrived at my house in the spring and my dad says, "looks like they had a kkk rally at your school."

I mean seriously, white kids, white sheets, megaphones, banners and an aerial shot far enough away to not see the exact configuration of the sheets?

Hilarious as it is, some of these photos are so ambiguous I'm sure someone could cause the pictured people some grief about them out of context.


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