Climate Change brings Ohio 5 schools together

By Theodore Elmore, Transcript Correspondent

Nearly 300 people from the Ohio 5 schools are coming together for the first time at Ohio Wesleyan’s rival school Denison University to fight climate change together.

The Climate Change Coalition started off as a senior project for environmental science major Liam McElroy at Denison and quickly grew from there.  The goal of the group was to bring together the Ohio five schools (Ohio Wesleyan, Denison, Kenyon, Wooster and Oberlin) to collaborate on different ideas in order to improve the environment on and off campuses.  

“My strength is getting people together who can help get to the bottom of things so we can each play off of our own strengths”, Said McElroy.

McElroy’s goal was to bring together as many people as possible and brainstorm ideas on how they have been able to make their school greener.  Groups or speakers representing each school will give a short presentation during the conference, with a goal of sharing how they continue to make their school more environmentally friendly.  

McElroy got in contact with Eva Blockstein, a sophomore at OWU and together they worked on getting a group of students to the conference on April 1.  Blockstein, who is working as a lone wolf to present, is excited to share about OWU’s strengths which include; Tree House, Environment and Wildlife club, plans for green week, the Sustainability Task Force and other events.  “One problem I’ve seen at OWU is students not getting involved” said Blockstein who hopes to find ideas from other schools on how OWU can find more students to get involved in more green projects on campus.

Along with the schools going to the event McElroy is bringing in two guest speakers; the Yes Men an environmental activist group and Madonna Thunderhawk a member of the Native American Sioux tribe and organizer of the tribe at Standing Rock.  Thunderhawk has a connection with a professor at Denison University and will be coming back for her second time to the campus on Saturday for the event. Denison funded the majority of the money for the project, however each school had to put up a small entrance fee to help pay for it.  From OWU, the zoology department donated $50 while WCSA funded another $637.

While McElroy is a senior, his goals for this conference expand to long after he is gone. “The success of this organization is going to be measured next year not this year”, Said McElroy whose dream is that this organization continues to meet and collaborate every year and hopefully grow bigger in time.


Global Warming is real, duh

Killington, Vermont, a place normally covered in snow this time of year. Photo by Matt Cohen.
Killington, Vermont, a place normally covered in snow this time of year. Photo by Matt Cohen.

Matt Cohen, Editor-in-Chief

The young adult skiing down the slush-covered Vermont mountain wearing nothing but a smiley face shaved into his chest hair and American flag thigh-tight shorts was the sanest of us all.

We didn’t account for warm weather in early March at 4,231 feet of elevation and we paid for it. The jackets and snowpants caused overheating and after the first run down the slopes, sweat dripped from everywhere.

Most people know global warming is a thing. I do, too.

But now, after the sun’s reflection off the wet snow gave me an unfortunate sunburn on the underside of my relatively big nose, I really know.

Global warming is an issue that needs immediate attention.

According to evidence presented by NASA, sea level rose almost 7 inches in the last century. But over the last decade, the rate has nearly doubled from that of the last century.

Earth has undergone 10 of the warmest years of its approximately 4.543 billion life in the last 12 years. It has also gone through 20 of the warmest years since 1981.

We cannot wait for an end-all solution. There are simple tasks we can do to help avoid more underside-of-the-nose sunburn in early March.

Check your tires regularly. Properly inflated tires increase gas mileage by 3 percent and every gallon saved prevents 20 pounds of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere.

When just 1 percent of people maintain their cars for a year, nearly a billion pounds of carbon dioxide are kept from the atmosphere.

I like a chilled household or cool bedroom as much as the next guy. And as the season changes, I pay close attention to the thermostat. But now, it will be for another reason.

During the warmer months, raising the temperature just 2 degrees can save 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emission throughout the year.

Lastly, here are some solutions geared toward college kids. Use the washing machine or dishwasher when it’s full. We do the dishes almost never and wash our clothes once a week, maybe. You now have a very good reason when your mom calls.

On average, showers use four times less energy than baths. I can’t remember the last time I took a bath.

Yes, global warming is a big issue, but it doesn’t need a big solution. Just check your damn tires.

Read the full list of things to do to help stop global warming here.

Too much hot air

By: TC Brown

By many measures, this winter has been a pain in areas where the sun rarely reaches.

Dreadful weather is bad enough on its own, but it can also be a real boon for the radical element that deny the existence of climate change.

The cold, snow and ice morph into a convenient prop for these folks and their head-in-the-sand outlook that says changes in climate are not fueled by the world’s booming population and the ever increasing numbers of people driving fuel-burning vehicles.

Forget that in 2013 a United Nations panel, which includes thousands of scientists from around the world, said it is a 95 percent certainty that humans are the “dominant cause” behind the monumental changes to our climate.

They’re not alone. NASA, the National Academy of Sciences, the U.S. Department of Defense, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Meteorological Society agree, as noted recently in The Columbus Dispatch.

Scientists seem unequivocal in their reasoning, so who’s to argue?

Send in the clowns.

At the end of February, Sen. James Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican and well-known denier, packed snow into a large ball and lugged it into the Senate chambers. “Do you know what this is? It’s a snowball,” Inhofe said.

Not getting anything past this Congress.

Inhofe explained he had made the snowball outside and that it was very cold,  “very unseasonable.”  Really? Snow in February, who knew.

There’s more. Earlier this month employees of Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection revealed that they are forbidden to use phrases like “global warming” and “climate change” in official communications.

Soon after that news broke a former staffer from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources said they had been “explicitly ordered” to remove all references to climate change from the organization’s website.

And the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources also deleted links and documents related to climate change from its website. Not to be outdone, 39 Republican U.S. senators opposed an amendment that blamed human activity for climate shifts.

Playing politics with this somber and factual meteorological phenomena is a very dangerous game. Last year, that same U.N. panel of global scientists issued a report that said greenhouse gas emissions are the highest in history. The gasses come from a variety of sources, especially from the burning of fossil fuels for electricity, heat and transportation, and can trap and hold heat in the atmosphere. Globally, the ten hottest years on record have occurred since 1998.

In 2008, I spent six months helping climate change scientists develop multimedia content for their website. Frankly, I was startled by what I learned and that was seven years ago.

Glaciers and ice packs in mountain regions are in full retreat. Melting ice is expected to contribute to a continuing rise in sea levels, threatening many costal cities and potentially displacing millions. Global sea levels rose a little more than 6 ½ inches in the last century and the rate in the last decade is nearly double that, according to NASA. Small Pacific islands are sinking.

The changing climate is likely to fuel more violent and costly storms, create regional droughts and threaten the natural habitat of animal and plant life. The Nature Conservancy predicts that if the changes continue to occur rapidly, one-fourth of Earth’s species could be headed toward extinction by 2050.

Superstorm Sandy, which plowed into New Jersey in 2012, cost at least $65 billion in damages, making it the second most costly storm since Katrina wiped out the New Orleans region, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Sobering stuff, but that’s simply a big-picture scan of the potential danger and damage. Deeper evidence abounds should one look, and I strongly urge the students on this campus to get engaged.

The deniers like to claim that this is all a liberal media hoax and that little if any proof exists. Guess what drives that view? Money.

It will cost many industries real cash to clean up and reduce carbon emissions and many of those organizations and their political allies have said, “No thanks, not enough proof.”

Helen Keller, the deaf and blind author, political activist and lecturer once said, “The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but not vision.”

The scientific jury is still out on whether it is too late for us to do anything to reverse these processes. It’s clear we all need to at least try. But this country, in fact the entire planet, needs vision regarding climate change and how we as a human race might diminish these looming dangers. Politically motivated denial simply digs a deeper hole for everyone.

I’ve heard the denier’s arguments that the changes now underway have occurred on the Earth before. Certainly true, but the planet was not home to 7 billion people at the time. That’s where the dangers lie.

It’s going to take personal and even global energy to try to turn the direction in which we are headed. It’s a vital calling, if for nothing else, one simple fact – the wellbeing of future generations. It’s time to stop the political gamesmanship and act.

If we don’t, the kids will pay the real price.


TC Brown is an adjunct instructor of journalism at Ohio Wesleyan, an author, and a journalist of 25 years. His work has been featured in many publications, including The New York Times and Cleveland’s The Plain Dealer.