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The climate crisis: How you can make a difference

In the last month alone, there have been articles on “Record Breaking Natural Disasters,” “Record Breaking Forest Fires,” “Record Breaking Floods,” and “Record Breaking Droughts.” The list goes on for the disasters that are occurring around the globe. The disasters hurt not only the economy but everyday people from the communities they impact. While humans cannot prevent the fallout from these natural disasters, we can react to them and make choices that could prevent them from getting worse. The Green Life Club at St. Ambrose University takes part in doing just that.

 Global warming is an umbrella term that includes different aspects such as climate change, rising sea levels, shifting weather patterns, extreme weather occurrences, etc. Human activities, like burning fossil fuels, have overall increased the concentration of greenhouse gases in Earth’s atmosphere, causing global warming. Scientists have coined this the “Greenhouse Effect.”

Climate change has become a climate crisis. The examples of the consequences began to showcase more prominently and more noticeably within the last few decades, with more extreme weather and natural disasters.

Less than one month ago, the Greek Island of Evia had a heatwave. Strong winds, alongside the heat, were conducive to a massive fire warranting an urgent evacuation of the island. There were people on the boats crying as they saw their island burn, the night sky a bloody orangish-red. 

Last month, Chinese officials sounded an urgent flood alarm for their Hubei Province following a deadly flooding season that killed hundreds of people and displaced millions. There was reportedly a heavy downfall in China’s central region, leading to more than 20 inches of water, heavy property damage, and extensive economic consequences.

Less than one month ago, the number of acres burned in the state of California alone reached  2 million acres, with thousands of structures damaged. There are still big and small fires burning through the state. This summer, millions of people around the world have been impacted by the heatwave that has shattered the record for hottest temperature since records began. These occurrences are not a one-off or one-year event; they will continue all around the world and with greater magnitude. They are the result of years of human action and inaction when it comes to global warming.

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What Can You do?

While the situation is dire, we can ease the rate at which global temperatures rise. Using eco-friendly technology in everyday living and petitioning local and state leaders to make incentives for a healthier planet by decreasing greenhouse gas emissions are great options for action.

One example of how to get involved at St. Ambrose is through the Green Life club. Green Life is an environmental club with a goal to spread awareness about the wide-scale environmental impacts of climate change.

“We have students from differing majors participate and lead initiatives to raise environmental awareness and create change on campus. I think they [the students] generally like making a difference and being leaders of change,” Dr. Tarasi, Green Life advisor, stated.

Green Life is a student-driven club and mostly tackles local issues to spread climate change awareness. 

“In the past year, we have grown local vegetables that are served in Cosgrove [cafeteria], designed a Sustainability Pledge for people to sign, assisted community gardens in the area with their efforts, organized litter cleanups and a food drive,” Dr. Tarasi explained.

According to Dr. Terrassi, this semester, Green Life plans to educate the campus on Recycling Education and Signage, Single-Use Plastic Concerns, and Fast Fashion. If you have any questions and are interested in learning more, you can contact the Green life club from the SAU website

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