Rachel Eckles, Environmental Activist

Name: Rachel Eckles

Year: 2017

Major: Economics and Environmental Analysis & Policy

Hometown: Dallas, Texas

What is your favorite thing to do in Boston?

I love to bike on the Esplanade.

What made you choose BU?

I felt like it was a good balance between an urban university and a university with close-knit campus culture.

What student group(s) are you involved in?

Students for a Just and Stable Future (AKA DivestBU) and the Student Government Advocacy Department

What is something you’re passionate about?

Social Justice

What is your dream job? (If money, time, etc. didn’t matter.)

I would be an environmental science teacher.

Why are you so interested in the environment and climate change?

It feels incredibly urgent to me that we focus on how we are affecting the planet before it starts to affect us too much.

What made you interested in divestment?

After I attended the People's Climate March in New York City in 2014, I felt inspired to help create the feeling of being a part of a movement on campus.

Why divest?

The school is making money off of fossil fuel companies, and supporting their growth, by investing them. It just makes sense. I also think that this movement is an important way for students to realize their power to lead change. Within 100 years Bay State Road will be under water if we don't start making changes, and fast.

The university sent out the email talking about what they were planning on divesting. It seemed like they were making some changes, but obviously not enough. What do you think they can do better?

President Brown's statement said that the school is going to "avoid investing" in just coal and tar sands extractors. While other parts of the statement, including the green investing and creation of climate action plan, are great steps, the fact that school does not want to change it's investment policies regarding fossil fuel companies suggests that they are not as serious about making change as we would like them to be.

What do you hope the university does to fix this?

Ideally, by fully divesting from all fossil fuel companies that are still exploring for more reserves despite all of the information they know about fossil fuel companies. This action and other bold steps the university could take would demonstrate to society and our political leaders that we need more regulations on the fossil fuel industry in order to transition to a better future.

That seems so important and interesting. How can other people get involved?

So many ways! You can, of course, join DivestBU. We meet on Thursdays at 6 in the CGSA (basement of the GSU). But also, I think it's mostly just important that no matter what you do to try to reduce your environmental impact, that you connect with others and remember that collective action works.