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WMU's second annual "Spring into Action" climate change series is underway

a yellow daffodil flower surrounded by branches and rocks, with bronze statues in the background
Leona Larson
A daffodil on WMU's campus in early March. Michigan experienced one of its warmest winters on record.

This year's series features more student-led activities and workshops on sustainable living, according to an organizer.

Michigan’s unusually mild winter has more people talking about the climate. That’s according to one of the organizers of this year’s “Climate Emergency: Spring into Action” series, which started in January and runs until the end of April.

The series includes film screenings, lectures, and hands-on skills workshops that are taking place mostly on Western Michigan University’s Campus.

WMU senior Megan Baldry is involved in climate activism on campus. She said this year’s unusual weather is fueling conversations which she hopes will lead more people to attend the events.

“It brings it down to the individual level because the weather is something we all experience every day,” she said. “So it helps people to, I think, conceptualize it, to see concrete ways that we're all going to be affected by it.”

WMU’s Climate Change Working Group launched the series last year, packing nearly 50 events into three weeks. But this year, the series is spread out over the entire spring semester. WMU Professor Steve Bertman is one of the organizers. He said he hopes this will help sustain student awareness.

“We need to be thinking about this every day, which is hard to do, and it's not always pleasant to do,” he said. “But we really want to raise the level of attention that people are paying to the climate crisis.”

Baldry is helping to organize this year’s Student Sustainability Summit on March 29. She said the event will allow student leaders to collaborate on climate change efforts.

Bertman said this year’s series includes more student-led events, such as the summit, as well as workshops focused on sustainable practices in everyday life.

“You're more likely to be involved in collective action if you feel a personal commitment or investment,” he said. “So those are the kinds of events, those sort of hands-on, action-oriented, ‘what can I do in my life’...those are the kinds of events I think that that are most attractive to people.”

Some of the activities include workshops on planting native seeds and upcycling used clothing.

Disclosure: WMUK is one of the sponsors of this year’s Spring into Action.