What do we Want the World to Look Like?
NASA states that since 1880 our average global temperatures have increased by 1.7 degrees Fahrenheit. While this does not seem like a huge change, this slight deviation in temperature creates detrimental effects on our environment. Arctic sea ice has declined 13.3 percent per decade and sea levels are rising 3.4 mL per year. Our global average temperatures are predicted to keep rising in the future as well. Scientists predict that temperatures will rise 2.5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit over the next century.
Many people do not think about the consequences their actions have on the environment. For example, a person littering will not realize that they could be killing a harmless animal and we do not realize how much greenhouse gas is used to provide our electricity. These are factors we all must consider. Many colleges are exceptional at spreading environmental sustainability and awareness. One of these colleges is Western Washington University.
In the list of colleges that use the most amount of green power, the Environmental Protection Agency placed Western Washington University at number 21 in the U.S. Western does a considerable amount to keep our energy consumption clean and renewable. The list states that we generate 40,000,000 kWh of green energy per year using wind power. This is 114% of the power that we require. The extra electricity helps to power the community around our campus. Even things that require a different source of electricity, like our parking pay stations, have solar panels attached to them.
“The Planet” magazine class is an example of how Western Washington University is spreading environmental awareness. This magazine is filled with an array of different stories about the environment that were all published by students attending Western. The people who work on the magazine as well as the audience learn about the environment. This is a great way for students to get involved in their environment and to obtain information about our environmental situation. This is especially important because the environmental awareness of students is a huge part of being environmentally sustainable. Little things these students do like recycling and picking up litter make a huge long-term difference.
I read an article in the spring 2016 issue of “The Planet” magazine called “Warning: Warming” by Anjali Legrand. Legrand explained how a high school senior named Emily Kelsall helped to pass a law requiring there to be global warming labels on all gas pumps in Vancouver, British Colombia. This helps spread environmental awareness in Vancouver as well as motivate students all around the world to make a difference in their environment. Many students believe they cannot do anything to help the environment because they are too young and inexperienced. Kelsall’s initiative shows them that anyone can make changes if they show some grit and think big.
Western Washington University would be an amazing model for environmental awareness and sustainability for other colleges. Not only do they use renewable wind power for all their electrical needs, but they also have programs in place to help spread environmental awareness throughout their campus. In “The Planet” publication class, students publish informative articles about our current environmental situation in a magazine that is later distributed to people around campus. These innovative strategies show that Western has an ideal approach to environmental sustainability and awareness that should be replicated by other colleges.