Student Involvement in Global Warming

One of the biggest concerns across the world is global warming; an issue that is progressively worsening. With each passing day, the need to take action becomes stronger. Global warming has a lot to do with collective change, making it vital for humans to work together to save the planet. With almost a quarter of the world’s population being in school, the actions of students make a big difference.

At BCA, it is apparent that students are concerned about global warming, with 94.5% of students in a survey either being distressed or extremely worried about the state of our planet. However, taking action against the trouble at hand requires a lot more effort to be put in.

From the same research, 61.1% of students believe that they somewhat take daily action against climate change, and 36.1% think that they don’t do enough. Most of the student body says that recycling is their main way of contributing against global warming or other smaller actions.

So, what are some ways students can get involved? American Forests, the oldest national nonprofit conservation organization in the United States, explains that “knowing is half the battle, which is why being educated on the effects of climate change goes a long way.” (American Forests). 

At BCA, the majority of the students express that they are only somewhat educated on global warming, with only 13.9% saying that they are well informed. Although being knowledgeable does not make any direct changes to the planet, “knowing will help [one] be able to make more informed decisions and make sustainable changes in [one’s] behavior and lifestyle.” (American Forests).

Another effective solution for students is to reduce their carbon footprint. Grace Smoot, an Environmental Survey Technician with a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Biology explains that “Reducing [one’s] carbon footprint is important because it mitigates the effects of climate change, which has a positive cascade effect on public health and plant and animal diversity. In addition, this boosts the global economy and leads to innovative, more environmental-friendly solutions.” (Grace Smoot).

In fact, BCA students try their best to reduce their carbon footprint. One student explains that they “[turn] off the lights when leaving the house, and [take] short showers instead of baths.” Small changes as such start to add up as time goes by. Another popular form of action is transportation. An anonymous student explains that they “try to walk and ride bikes places when [they] can” and even try to “carpool with [their] friends for sports.” 

Despite students not being able to make big life changes on their own, joining larger groups is a great way to get involved. One BCA student, a “member of Sunrise Bergen, [the] environmental activism club at BCA, [takes] part in a lot of events like park clean-ups, educational events, protests, and more.”  Joining such groups is not helpful for taking more action against global warming, but becoming more informed on the topic as well. 

So, why should one actually care about global warming? According to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF),  no matter what, all humans will be affected by climate change. In severe cases, there will be “more extreme weather to increasing food prices, to recreation and decreased opportunities to appreciate the natural world,” and everyone will be impacted. This is the main reason as to why it is crucial for all humans to take action against global warming.

However, some people disagree with this statement. One BCA student explains that regular citizens cannot do much about climate change. “Global warming isn’t our fault and it isn’t our problem to solve. Change big enough to make a difference happens from those in our society with the most power, who are, coincidentally, those most often disproportionately responsible.” So, do all these small changes made by students actually help?

Bobbi Peterson, a green-living and sustainability writer and blogger at Living Life Green, believes that “small actions do add up. [Taking] five low impact actions, like air drying [one’s] clothes or unplugging [one’s] electronics when not in use, and [one has] reduced [one’s] emissions by one ton. Eat a plant-based diet, and [one] could eliminate almost one full ton of carbon emissions per year.” Although at the moment small actions may seem fruitless, it’s the consistency of these habits that can make a large difference.

Although students already have their hands full with school and extracurricular activities, taking action against global warming should not seem like another big project. In fact, the main point should be simply making small changes into one’s life. Afterall, climate change is impacting the entire planet, and it is the people’s job to take care of it.