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Editors Talk “Going Green”

In recent years, climate change has resulted in a wide range of impacts, such as rising global temperatures that have melted polar ice caps and caused sea levels to rise. Human health, agriculture, food security, water supply, transportation, energy and ecosystems are all components impacted by climate change. Many scientists and climatologists believe that the spike in natural disasters over recent years, such as Hurricane Harvey and the wild fires in California, are a direct consequence of global warming. 

Several initiatives have been made to combat the consequences of global climate change; recycling is one that has had a substantial positive impact on the environment. Recycling saves energy, which could otherwise add to greater pollution and further greenhouse gas emissions, which cause the rise in temperatures. It also reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills and incinerators, and conserves natural resources such as timber, water and minerals.  Because of its impact on climate change, the editors of The Outlook decided to share their opinions on the University’s stance on recycling as well as the problem of climate change on a global and future scale. 

The editors, for the most part, all had similar stances in the importance of recognizing the problem that is climate change. “To me, it is almost common sense that the Earth is warming at a dangerous rate and it needs to change,” one editor said. Another editor also noted that climate change is much more than just fluctuations in temperature.

Another editor noted the potential ramifications of climate change and said, “If temperatures continue to rise, it will dramatically affect the lives of generations to come.” The probability of the listed repercussions is likely to increase and become more disruptive in the coming decades, according to the Fourth National Climate Assessment released on Nov. 23.

One editor noted the dismissive attitude in our government as a major problem in addressing the problem of climate change and said, “…Some in government, who aren’t scientists, don’t believe in it and it is a dangerous thing to not believe in.” The editors agreed that it is our responsibility to leave behind a healthy, functioning environment to future generations. 

Like climate change, most of the editors acknowledged the significance of recycling in today’s world. “Landfill sites and chemicals are destroying our natural environment so if we recycle it can reduce the negative environmental impact and save habitats,” said one editor. Recycling is the easiest and therefore most convenient way to contribute to becoming a greener Earth and yet so many don’t participate.

Some see recycling as throwing a plastic can into a blue bin, but there are many more layers and coatings to it. One editor even upcycles, taking something old and transforming it into something new. “I took some old and unusable vinyl records, grabbed some string and hole punch, and made decorations with them,” the staffer said, suggesting that the popular social media site Pinterest provides a plethora of ideas on different ways to reduce waste and be more conscious about the environment. 

The editors also  could play a part in helping the Earth – after all, we are only contributing to the problem if we aren’t at least attempting to address it. Most of the editors emphasized disposing of plastic straws altogether or reusing the new stainless-steel drinking straws.  “I think if we all make small steps such as reusing water bottles and other items, as a whole, we can make a difference,” one editor said.

One editor noted that something as simple as walking places instead of driving can contribute to mitigating the growing effects of climate change. Most do not realize how adverse an effect gasoline has on the atmosphere and the environment, the editor explained. The average individual can help at home, whether they realize it or not. “If you are leaving a room, turn off all your devices and lights,” said an editor. 

Unlike climate change and recycling, however, the editors had conflicting opinions when it came to address the University’s stance on recycling and being a “green” campus. For example, one editor said, “I think that Monmouth certainly advocates for recycling and environmental efforts.” Another editor said, “As one who lives in the University dorms, for the past four years, I have witnessed janitors combine recycling and garbage bins.” 

Another editor noted that the University does its best with recycling but added that it could certainly be better. Most of the editors agreed that there is a difference between saying that you are a “green” campus and actually being a “green” campus. One editor used the popular school slogan “think before you print” to express her point. The Outlook questions: how much paper is wasted on syllabus’ and worksheets each semester?