Campuses call action against climate change

UW-Whitewater and Rock County hold panels for climate change solutions during event series

Katelyn Black, Lifestyle Editor

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Recently, climate change has been taking over national news. From concerns about the rising sea levels to the probable extinction of arctic animals, it’s become a big topic. This recent spike in concern is exactly what prompted the UW-Whitewater Climate Change Event Series which included the UW-Whitewater Climate Change Panel Discussion and UW-Rock County climate change event, ‘Climate Action’.

The main purpose of the UW-Rock County climate change panel was simply to make those attending the one-night-event ask three simple questions about climate change: what’s happening, why it’s important and what can be done about it?

This first year event included keynote speaker, UW-Whitewater professor and Weather and Climate Scientist, John Frye.

The keynote speech from Frye was followed up by speeches from student activists about their real life climate change experience, as well as giving motivation to attendees, in hopes that they start a change of their own.

To conclude, coordinators held a  question and answer session in order to involve ideas and input from those sitting in the audience seats, as well.

This session allowed students and faculty passionate about climate change to brainstorm ideas together on how to fix the ever growing problem.

One of the coordinators for the event, UW-Rock County Professor of Geography, Geology and Environment, Bob McCallister argues that this was the most important part because caring and problem solving now is the only way to fix what he deems as ‘the most important issue’ of the time.

“Dramatically more attention must be given to taking action on climate change, the most important issue of our time,” said McCallister. “The people who are concerned are the optimists, care the most about a bright future, and are the most hopeful believers in humanity, that we can have a better world ahead.”

Students on the UW-Whitewater campus students got involved in a similar manner.

The Wednesday night panel on campus included more speakers and just as many ways to get students and faculty in the audience involved in making a change.

The discussion  included a variety of speakers  from different backgrounds, whether it be political or business and, just like the UW-Rock County event, the night concluded with a question and answer session where audience members could again find out more about what they can do to make a change.

Taylor Stevens, a UW-Whitewater student and sustainability intern believed this event was important for many of the same reasons as McCallister.

“If we don’t know the facts and the science behind climate change how are we supposed to act in an effective way? By having conversations/panels like these we are addressing global issues and looking at the issue from an interdisciplinary viewpoint,” said Stevens.

“This offers a comprehensive look at all of the angles of climate change and how we can come together as communities to survive and prosper.”

For students still hoping to get involved in making a difference, an open discussion about climate change, activism, and mental health will be held on Dec. 3 at 5 p.m. in Heide room 206. This will be the final event of the 2019 series.