Climate concerns inspire local action

Scientists agree that climate change noticeably worsened the recent surge of catastrophic hurricanes that devastated parts of Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico. Climate change is no longer hypothetical, and the world is experiencing its effects right now.  

As the Trump administration continues to send mixed signals on its decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement, it can seem like students on college campuses are far away from where the major decisions relating to climate change are made. But as our national government evades its duty to the American people, cities and college campuses are stepping up to protect the environment for generations to come. This week, we highlight guests from across campus — and across the country — who recognize the importance of local initiatives to combat climate change. 

First, we feature an interview with Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, on what cities can do to mitigate and deal with the effects of climate change. Buttigieg, who spoke on this topic at September’s Texas Tribune Festival, explains the new role he envisions for city leadership in these issues, as well as what college students can do to become involved. 

Megan Raby, assistant professor in the Department of History, outlines the wide-ranging history of climate research, from the initial discovery of the greenhouse effect to the more recent rise of climate change denial. She argues that climate change will unavoidably have far-reaching consequences and that people everywhere still need to come to terms with that reality.

Finally, James Collins, an ambassador for UT’s Campus Environmental Center, discusses the importance of collective action to promote environmental sustainability. He highlights five major initiatives on campus and calls for students to join the active campus community of environmental advocates.

If you have an opinion on one of these topics or anything else, we’d love to hear from you — please email us at [email protected]

Nemawarkar is a Plan II and government junior from Austin. Shirvaikar is a math and economics junior from Frisco.