Ohio youth climate activists OSU divest from fossil fuels

Photo by Taylor Dorrell

On Wednesday, April 20, members of Ohio Youth for Climate Justice and Sunrise Columbus disrupted The Ohio State University’s 2022 signature Earth Day event: “Time to Act on Climate Change” at the Ohio Union’s US Bank Conference Theater.

Organizers dropped banners and led chants when President Johnson, a planned speaker and award recipient at the event, began her speech.

The students demanded that OSU completely divest from fossil fuel companies immediately and reinvest the money into the Columbus community.

“It’s time for President Johnson to address the realities of the crisis and leverage her power to tangibly act on climate change,” said Catherine Adams, a student organizer and a freshman at OSU. “We have tried asking nicely. We have tried to meet with President Johnson, but she continues to make empty promises rather than sitting down with us and working towards real solutions for our community.”

President Johnson left the building after a few moments of protest, but the students remained to speak with and demand divestment from other OSU administrators.

“President Johnson neglected to respond to our divestment demands,” said Isabella Guinigundo co-communications director for Ohio Youth for Climate Justice. “As of 2018, OSU has over $15 million divested in fossil fuels within the university’s endowment. There have been no public reports on investments since then.” 

“The fight isn’t over,” Adams added. “We will keep showing up until our demands are met.”

Ohio Youth for Climate Justice is a youth-led movement organizing radical action to address the climate crisis with the focus and urgency that the issue deserves.

Sunrise Columbus is also a youth climate activist group fighting for a Green New Deal on a local level in Columbus.