“It’s quite clear, from study after study, that the rate of resource extraction, the rate of population growth, is exorbitant and we can’t continue to extract resources at the same rate that we always have,” said Sean Cornell, an SU associate geography and earth sciences professor. From shifting weather predictions, to mass storms across the southern United States, it seems some aspects of climate change are rearing their head.
“Changes that normally happen over thousands of years, we’re seeing it happen in decades,” Cornell explained.
There are changes occurring all over the planet to normal temperatures, weather patterns and even animal populations, according to Cornell. While it is normal to be worried about the topic of climate change, students who are concerned might want to consider joining some environmental activities on campus.
“Green League is an environmental club on campus where students can learn about environmental topics on and off campus, in a healthy and safe environment, where their opinions matter and where everyone is treated equally with respect,” Mavis Anderson said. Anderson, a first-year student majoring in sustainability with an environmental conservation concentration, is the president of the Green League. “Environmental awareness is important on a community and global scale because our Earth is suffering due to man-made reasons.”
The Green League also participates in trash pickups, hikes and natural arts and crafts. This would be the place to find like-minded people, who care about helping the Earth. There are a multitude of other ways to get involved on campus. The environmental club GREEN, the farm club or working on the farm are all great options for students wanting to join an environment-based organization. Even students who are not actively involved with the environment but want to learn more are also encouraged to join.
“Burning and slashing and cutting forests takes away our ability to photosynthesize carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere,” Cornell said. “Not only are we putting greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, but we’re taking away the Earth’s ability to remove it.”
Trees such as those in tropical rainforests as mentioned above, are a vital source of oxygen and also cleanse the air of carbon dioxide. By removing trees and processing them, humans put carbon dioxide in the atmosphere while destroying the thing that would remove it.
In order to help promote clean air and tree growth, Shippensburg University is participating in the Ten Million Trees campaign. Next spring, it is planned to plant 1,000 trees on campus.
“When we think about sustainability, we think about the future of resources. And not only collecting those resources, extracting them, but what are the implications of doing that? Once everyone can recognize the problem, we should be able to come together and fix it too,” Cornell said.
The Green League and other environmental groups on campus urge that the best way to create solutions is to work together. If current generations want to continue life in the way that they know it, they have to work together to slow, and eventually stop climate change. The environment and many large-scale ecosystems keep the human world running.