Climate change panel brainstorms sustainable practices

Nyctea Martell

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, an intergovernmental body of the United Nations, released a report on Oct. 8. The report said that pre-industrial and related emissions must be limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius instead of 2 degrees Celsius.

The report said that limiting emissions to 1.5 degrees Celsius temperature change would reduce effects on ecosystems and organisms. Climate change is expected to reach 1.5 degrees Celsius between 2030 and 2052.

Projections show that climate change will cause weather extremes and the sea level to rise. In response to this report, Dinesh Paudel, a sustainable development professor, called for action on campus.

A meeting was held Oct. 15 in the Plemmons Student Union to discuss the IPCC report and what the university could do to increase sustainability. More than 200 people attended.

Paudel opened the meeting with an overview of the report. Paudel said that this was an urgent call to action.

“We do not have that many years left if we want to make a difference,” Paudel said. “If we act now, we have a chance that we limit it to 1.5.”

Afterwards the audience broke into 19 groups to discuss what App State is doing and can do for sustainability. The discussions were led by professors from 10 different departments.

App State has traditionally been focused on the humanities and liberal arts, Ian Snyder, a sustainable development professor, said. “But we’ve always had an obvious connection to natural resource stewardship.”

App State has implemented sustainable practices such as switching to paper straws, using solar and wind energy and recycling. Students and faculty brainstormed more actions App State could to commit to zero waste.

The groups rejoined and discussed solutions together.

Key points from the group discussions included water conservation, voting and integrating sustainability into general education. The audience cheered at the mentions of civil disobedience, students having the right to choose where their fees are allocated and turning the sustainable development farm into a full farm.

The leaders of the talk emphasized that movement for sustainability on campus must be student-led and supported by faculty. Groups said they need to keep each other accountable to sustain the momentum.

Story by Nyctea Martell, A&E Reporter