The polar vortex brought much more than bitter cold weather to the University of Wisconsin campus last week. On the bright side, it drove students to come together and petition for cancellation of classes, which has only happened 9 times in the past 50 years at UW. Unfortunately, the extreme cold and subsequent thaw is thought to be the cause of several pipe bursts in buildings all over campus and the surrounding area, causing damage that will be expensive and time consuming to repair.
I’ll admit I wasn’t too upset about my organic chemistry discussion being canceled on Friday, but the entire department and many others are backed up due to flooding issues. Even my apartment building was ankle deep in water.
Climate change could lead to shortening of winter season, extension of summer days in Madison, experts sayConcerned citizens packed a conference room in the Madison Municipal Building Wednesday to hear the city’s response to climate change’s Read…
We are all blaming the extreme weather for the disastrous events that have been happening. But why was the weather so extreme in the first place? The answer is climate change. As global temperatures rise due to emissions from our coal-powered society, the earth feels the need to balance itself out, which is why these polar winds found themselves so far from home. This is just the beginning of the extreme weather that will soon become the norm in our world. The events of this past week should be motivation for decision makers to move climate change to the top of their priorities.
UW has always been a progressive leader in environmental advocacy and innovation, and this is no time to back down. We have the people power and support to push for a transition to 100 percent renewable energy, which is one of the most effective ways to combat climate change.
This transition would not only contribute to the fight against global warming, but it would also improve the lives of many in the city of Madison. A column published in The Badger Herald mentioned the negative health impacts that coal power can cause and reminded us of UW’s track record as a foundation for grassroots organizers. There are many students on campus who are politically active and ready to fight for the environment.
By leading the way in clean energy, UW can encourage other campuses to follow suit. The state may even be motivated to transition to renewable energy, too. It is obvious from the 28 buildings that flooded last week that climate change is already costing us and affecting us close to home. Transitioning to renewable energy would be cost-efficient, environmentally sustainable and would allow us to be a part of the solution, rather than the problem.
I urge the UW administration to make a commitment to transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy because it is a 100 percent possible goal. I also urge the students on this campus to take steps towards this goal. Make phone calls and write letters to the administration, have conversations with faculty, and demand that this campus take part in fighting climate change and saving the planet.
Marina Minic ([email protected]) is a sophomore majoring in chemistry and environmental studies.