If You Breathe Air, You Should Care

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We are at an incremental point in our history, a fork in the road in which we are choosing the fate for many generations to come. Global Scientists are warning us, we have 10 years to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and around 20 year to operate as a carbon neutral society to have a 50 percent chance of avoiding catastrophic implications of climate change (IPCC, 2018).

Here in Wisconsin we are not separated from climate change, in fact, we are directly contributing to it, and are vastly unprepared from the current and projected impacts. Nearly half of Wisconsin’s energy is still created through the combustion of dirty coal, and UWW is a contributor to this pollution. Not only is this damaging the hearts and lungs of our communities, but it is resulting in global changes in our climatic systems. Wisconsin is predicted to face negative impacts on forestry, agriculture, infrastructure, transportation, biodiversity and ecosystems, water resources, and human health due to human induced climate change (WICCI, 2011). Virtually everyone and every aspect of our lives is going to get affected by this in some way.

Currently, the world is waking up. This last September over four million climate strikers took to the streets globally to demand action on climate change from their leaders. In our state, the conversation has changed quite a bit since the election of Governor Evers. In the recent months he has committed to the U.S. Climate Alliance, stating that Wisconsin will reduce emissions in alignment with the Paris Climate Accord, and has created a specific task force on climate change.

This is an incremental time for the Wisconsin, the UW-System, and UW-Whitewater. We have a decision to be leaders, or continue with business as usual and be a shame for the future. The Whitewater Student government took a step in the right direction passing a climate change action bill 22-1 urging Chancellor Watson to sign on to the President’s Climate Commitment and create a climate action plan for the University, on Monday, Nov. 24. There is a lot of momentum on our campus and in the state to take action to reduce our carbon footprint and rise to adapting to climate impacts.

This is a student led movement and I ask you to join us. Tell your friends about this climate crisis, do your own research, vote with the climate in mind, and join us in this conversation on campus.

Jonathan Roberts

UW-W Senior