The smallest steps matter
By Fleener Cophy
With all the things we must deal with as college students, climate change seems to be the least of our worries, right?
It shouldn’t be. Climate change, according to the United Nations, is the most pressing issue of our time.
The United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report states that due to inaction on climate change, there will be extreme weather changes, such as intense heat and superstorms, especially hurricanes.
Thanks to rising sea levels as a result of that extreme heat, hurricanes will increase in strength and storm surge.
Remember Irma? Michael? What Maria did to Puerto Rico? And now Dorian?
Millions of people were displaced by those storms.
It is estimated by the IPCC that about 280 million people around the world could be threatened with displacement due to climate change in the future.
We have been left with the burden of climate change and will start to suffer from the consequences within our lifetimes.
Scientists have proven that since 1997, the world has had its five hottest years on record. This past July was the hottest month in recorded history.
For us college students in Florida, that means more torrential rain. Students will be forced inside by the extreme heat and heavy rains. The heat will also impact our health and threaten water supplies, creating dangerous droughts.
I am giving real-world scenarios of how climate change has changed the Earth. We can see the impact on the smallest yet most significant parts of our lives.
All is not lost yet; there are ways us college students can help the environment.
First, using transportation such as the public bus or carpooling will help lower your carbon footprint.
If your destination is 20 minutes or less away, try walking or riding a bike.
Neither of these modes of transportation require fossil fuels and you’d be getting an excellent workout!
Also, our electricity consumption is tied for the most significant source of our carbon emissions. Instead of leaving our phones to charge all night, we should fully charge our phones beforehand and unplug for the night.
Think about it; your phone can’t charge past 100 percent! All we are doing is wasting energy.
To save more energy and about 80% of your computer’s carbon emissions, try fully turning it off at night. The only reasonable explanation for having your computer on is if you are cramming a paper due at midnight.
Next time you buy textbooks, switch from paper to electronic books. This not only helps save paper, but also your wallet.
That’s two types of paper you’re saving!
Sometimes, you can find your textbook in PDF format online for free!
Here are some tips on how to save water: turn off the faucet when brushing your teeth and shorten your showers.
You can also switch to washing clothes with cold water and drying them on a rack.
Finally, it is vital to join environmental advocacy organizations such as Our Climate. Our elected representatives need to hear our voices on this issue.
FSW students can join other local organizations like The Conservancy of Naples and The Sierra Club of Fort Myers.
These tips will help your college experience at FSW significantly by both protecting the environment and saving some money!