In commemoration of Las Positas’ first Earth Week, students unified on campus to celebrate Earth with information booths aiming to spread education about environmentalism, sustainability and conservancy.
As people all around the globe have seen, climate change remains a long-term risk to current, past and future generations. Harmful human activity such as deforestation, increased use of greenhouse gasses, industrialization, consumerism and transportation has affected almost every aspect of the Earth’s habitat. As a result, 20 of the warmest years on record worldwide have occurred in the past 20 years according to Climate Central.
Prolonged climate change has become the source of most negative implications affecting both humans and animals. In a report conducted by The Worldwide Fund of Nature, animal populations have declined by 60% since 1970 as a result of global warming. Additionally, many scientists argue that the presence of climate change will pose a large threat in the mere future, enabling problems such as food and water scarcity.
To control these undesirable effects, environmentalism advocates at Las Positas took the time this past week to host necessary discourse about lifestyle changes one can adapt into their lives to do their part in preserving the planet.
Meghan Pletsch, the climate fellow at Las Positas, ensures such commitment towards sustainability and was tasked with co-coordinating Earth week.
“Climate change is a humanitarian crisis just as much as it is threatening the health and biodiversity of our natural world.” Plestch said. Environmentalists like Pletsch argue that such threats can lead to severe worsening of public health and hunger crises and global warming.
With efforts to educate LPC’s student body, the climate solutions fair offered explanations towards the creation and persistence of such problems, from waste to greenhouse gas emissions.
A notable pattern in the influence of weather change is correlated with several industries among the labor market. For starters, the fashion sector of the manufacturing industry produces an endless amount of textile waste. According to research conducted by Princeton, the industry is expected to see an increase to 50% in greenhouse gas emissions if solutions aren’t implemented. Such resolutions include participating in less consumption of clothes or buying clothes second hand or ethically.
Similar to textiles, plastic waste and trash continues to be a big problem. Statistics from Recycle Now show that “nearly 80% of all plastic waste ever created by humans is still in the environment.” In response, eliminating single use plastic from packaging could slow the steady increase in plastic. A simple swap is as easy as using menstrual cups rather than tampons, which were given out at no cost during the climate fair thanks to funding from LPC’s student equity program.
Food remains another large factor in greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for 10-30% because of farming and transportation as proven by studies done by the Center for Sustainable Systems. Simply eating less meat is one way to reduce individual carbon footprints.
Additionally, members of the climate fair encouraged practicing the six “R’s” of zero waste including refusing plastic, reducing consumerism, reusing, repurposing, recycling and rotting or composting food scraps.
Katie Dickinson, the climate fellow for Chabot College and other co-coordinator of earth week stressed the importance of these simple tasks.
“My advice for people starting their sustainable journey is to start slowly changing the way they do things until it becomes a habit.”
“I often hear a false narrative that people believe their actions ultimately won’t have an effect on the climate. That’s simply not true. Every individual has a role to play in combating climate change,” Dickinson said.
As busy college students, it can be daunting to invest time in caring for the environment. However, it doesn’t have to be difficult to make steps towards a better future.
“Stop eating as much meat, take shorter showers, bring reusable bags, water bottles and coffee cups everywhere you go,” Dickinson said.
Both climate fellows recommended staying educated by watching documentaries, reading articles and keeping up with current events. Ultimately, daily habit changes can lead to a lifetime of more knowledge and better lifestyle choices for the future of the planet.
On a similar note, Pletsch promoted individual efforts, regardless of size. “Real change results from a million people being imperfect environmentalists, not one person being a perfect one. Do what you can, when you can, be sincere and hold yourself and your friends accountable.”
In the case that one feels as though they’ve done everything they can do, they can take what they’ve learned and spread that information. Simply giving local politicians and congress officials a call about environmentalism, attending rallies or volunteering in projects all correlate in one way— active participation.
Given that current climate change is on track to occur 10 times faster than any change in the past 65 million years, as predicted by Stanford scientists, there is a sense of urgency surrounding the problem. However, it’s not too late to address climate change.
”Damage is inevitable, but we are at a critical point in time to take action.” Pletsch said. Afterall, change won’t happen on its own. The state of the world will be determined by the nature of how we handle it. In the end, we’ll either perish or persist and with that begs the question—what will you choose?
Sophia Sipe is Editor-In-Chief for The Express. Follow her @sophiasipe.