“PLANET HAS ONLY UNTIL 2030 TO STEM CATASTROPHIC CLIMATE CHANGE, EXPERTS WARN” screamed an Oct. 8 headline on CNN.
According to the research in the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the planet is dangerously close to its threshold for apocalyptic upset foretold by the raising of world average temperatures by 1.5 degrees celsius.
Despite how miniscule one degree may seem, this is the average for the entire earth’s temperature – from the deserts of Saudi Arabia to the North Pole. At a net change of 1.5 degrees, according to NASA, the change is still reversible. After 1.5 degrees, or even at two, the ability to recover vanishes – and the damage becomes permanent. Everywhere on earth, temperatures have risen by one degree already. Only half a degree to detriment. Only half a degree to demise.
The Earth’s temperatures haven’t changed this drastically in such a short time in the history of the world. Over the course of the ice age to modern day the world’s average temperature has only varied about one or two degrees over millenia. To change that much in such short notice could cause the death of nearly 90 percent of coral reefs, wild fires, floods, food shortage or the change ‘Berg felt in this sudden switch from swelter to sweater weather overnight.
While the world at large needs to change, Muhlenberg has worked to do its part. Certainly, groups on campus such as Environmental Action Team (EnAcT) and Sustainability Studies help make sure that Muhlenberg minimizes its footprint. EnAct is responsible for everything from the Just Tap it! Refillable water fountains around campus to the community garden, from the paper straws in the dining hall to the new bike system, from bringing the farmer’s market to campus and making locally-grown fruits and vegetables accessible to students to holding the Watts your bergtricity? Competition each year. The campus has many options to make sure that its impact is felt as little as it can be, but not much can be said for the surrounding area or the rest of the world.
Although “going green” is often put on the individual, The Guardian reports that just 100 companies are responsible for 71 percent of the world’s pollution. Global warming isn’t just leaving your air conditioning on or leaving the water running – it is caused by something much larger that needs to be dealt with on a much larger scale, with political force.
The President of the United States removed our country from the Paris Agreement, saying it was unfair to the country. What’s unfair is what we’re doing to the planet.
To change this, get out and vote in the next few weeks. Go to the polls in November and choose a candidate who cares for environmental concerns. Call your representatives in your home state. Go out and protest.