by Alex Duryera ’18
Barack Obama left the White House with many long-term goals to help reduce our global environmental impact.
He put plans in place to reduce greenhouse emissions and maintain clean water resources, ratified the Paris Agreement as part of a global effort to curb rising temperatures to well below two degrees Fahrenheit, and was working with other countries to plan and fund sustainability projects.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a group of over 1,300 scientists from around the world, average global temperatures are predicted to rise by 2.5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit during the next hundred years.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) explains the effects of climate change on various economic activities. Rising temperatures, changing weather patterns, and increasing carbon dioxide levels are adversely affecting crops and causing the oceans to become more acidic, threatening marine organisms like coral.
The warmer climate in some areas of the globe makes plants, animals, and humans more susceptible to parasites and disesases that can now reach wider ranges.
A changing climate causes some organisms to shift their breeding and migration patterns, potentially causing problems for organisms that rely on them. Climate change can mean threats to food security, forest productivity, coastal infrastructure, and the health of the elderly and babies.
These threats are serious and inevitable—we must act now.
Major concerns have been raised under the new Trump administration regarding environmental action.
Dismantling the environmental legislation Obama enacted, Trump supports the construction of pipelines in order to continue the exploitation of domestic fossil fuel sources. He is also in the process of loosening EPA regulations, and has vowed to exit the Paris Agreement.
The environment is changing; climate change is very real, and it is not slowing down anytime soon. Future generations deserve a clean, healthy, flourishing environment and it is up to us to take action now.
What can you do?
1. Join on-campus clubs focused on environmental sustainability, such as the Student Environmental Action Coalition (SEAC) or the Sustainable Development Club.
2. Keep updated on current events and keep an eye out for local rallies or protests:
• Sustainability Summit: Saturday, April 8 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Join students from colleges across New England for a discussion on sustainable initiatives happening at their universities and in their communities!
• Climate Change & Building Resilient Communities Discussion: Monday, April 10 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Blue Cross & Blue Shield of RI at 500 Exchange Street. Join state leaders for a discussion on what work is being done to preemptively prepare Rhode Island communities for the changing climate.
• March for Science: Saturday, April 22 from 12-4 p.m. at the state house. Take a stand against those who deny scientific research and factual evidence, and show your appreciation for those pursuing the truth.
3. Be mindful. Check first before tossing garbage in a recycling bin. Ask questions if you are not sure which bin something belongs in. Check out the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation’s website for a detailed flyer with recycling guidelines.