Last week, the Minnesota Daily reported that the University successfully reached the halfway point of its goal to reduce carbon emissions by 50 percent by 2020.
Admittedly, this good news feels small when faced by the bigger picture. In a recent astronomy lab, my instructor projected a slide depicting a graph of climate change over thousands of years. The line ebbed, but once it reached the modern industrialized era, its movement became more dramatic. The graph continued past present day, projecting future climate change scenarios. In the best case scenario — in which greenhouse gas emissions peak in the upcoming decade — the line began to right itself after about 2040. In the worst case scenario, which our current path points to, the line peaked dramatically, nearing a literal off-the-charts level of change.
To me, this prediction is made even more terrifying by the election of a president who has repeatedly referred to climate change as a hoax. Being environmentally-conscious is a value I hold tightly as a consequence of who raised me. My dad is a Ron Swanson-type who works for the Department of Natural Resources. My mother was raised in a family of nine kids, and knows a thing or two about recycling and reusing as a result. I’m convinced that both could successfully live off of the land indefinitely.
It’s important to be conscious of the state of our planet. But just because the situation is grave doesn’t mean we should give up hope, and this small bit of good news from the University gives me hope and motivation for action.