With rising concerns about environmental issues and climate change, the national non-profit Defend Our Future is aiming to fully establish itself at the University of Arizona and encourage students to taking action.
Defend Our Future is expanding across the United States with the help of student ambassadors from various universities and colleges. The organization set up at the UA a few years ago but this year it has started a concerted push to raise awareness of its presence on campus.
“The organization is a longstanding environmental activist group since the ‘70s and it’s consistently stood for pro-environmental legislation,” said Joshua Tashoff, the UA ambassador who has worked throughout the spring semester to get the word out about the group. “The priorities of the past decade or so have been specifically focused on climate change. Our biggest concern is energy and ensuring that the U.S. ensures a future for sustainable energy.”
Tashoff has been working closely with other students and Defend Our Future members to advocate local issues affecting Arizona residents and students including the rising hot temperatures and water shortages.
“At this moment in time there’s definitely a lot of interest in the organization,” Tashoff said. “Students are naturally more concerned about the future and our place in it and whether or not we can have a happy successful future, and climate change is a very daunting issue.”
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Other clubs and organizations across campus including Students for Sustainability have found ways to advocate and build a relationship with students to work together and combat environmental issues.
While Defend Our Future Arizona is still in the process of establishing itself, Tashoff’s priority has been to build a community.
“I think it’s important to build a community around these types of issues. It’s more than just standing up and [doing] something for one day. It's a lot more important to actually go out and talk to people and meet people with similar interests,” he said. “That’s how you generate action, and then focus on building a political act.”
Tashoff also said student involvement is important to grow the organization and bring awareness to the climate crisis.
Defend Our Future Arizona has collaborated with other UA organizations including the Ramblers Hiking Club to build its community. During this collaboration, the organizations held trail cleanups and other events to generate more support from students.
*El Inde Arizona is a news service of the University of Arizona School of Journalism.
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