Climate expert visits club, inspires change

Courtesy of: Wake Forest Baptist Health

Leah Boone, Opinions Editor

On Nov. 13, Michael McCrory came to Reagan to speak to Reagan’s Green Team, a club dedicated to helping the environment. McCrory is a pediatric critical care doctor at Wake Forest Baptist Hospital and volunteers with Citizens’ Climate Lobby. 

Climate change has become a very popular topic of conversation and debate as of late. The majority of people believe it is a real and imminent danger that needs to be addressed immediately. 

The 20 warmest years on record have occurred in the past 22 years and the fact that the climate is changing is beyond question at this point.  This will adversely affect all of us during our lifetimes and is already costing billions of dollars and human lives,” McCrory said.

During his visit to Reagan, McCrory discussed what exactly climate change includes, what solutions Citizens’ Climate Change supports and actions to be taken to mitigate the effects. Many Green Team members came to the meeting eager to hear what McCrory had to say. 

McCrory began the meeting by discussing the main cause of climate change: fossil fuels. More carbon in the atmosphere means a warmer temperature and the carbon emissions are on the rise.

“It is simply unethical to continue to burn fossil fuels in the same way now that we know conclusively that they are destroying our environment and causing tremendous harm via the billions of tons of CO2 released in the atmosphere every year in the US – especially now that renewable energy from solar or wind is actually becoming cheaper than coal or gas energy.  US citizens have the biggest carbon footprint per capita in the world,” McCrory said.

McCrory then went on to announce some statistics that go along with the increase of climate change. He said that we will have over 60 days each year with a temperature above 105 degrees and we have twelve years to reduce global emissions by 50%. 

The whole club agreed that we need to come up with plausible solutions as soon as possible to help reduce the impacts of climate change. McCrory said the solutions need to be fair, healthy for the planet and economy, uses incentive that support choice and drives large scale change quickly.

We also discussed different reasons why so many people hinder themselves from fully believing that climate change exists. 

I think we don’t fully engage in climate change action because we believe we can’t make a difference,” said junior club member Alice Chatterjee. “But I believe there is a lot each of us can work towards.”

McCrory spent a good portion of his presentation discussing how not only are there actions to be taken by officials, but also how we as students can. Citizens’ Climate Lobby currently has a proposal working its way through Congress.

HR 763, the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, would put a price on carbon at the source and the revenue in United States households would have a monthly dividend. This way, everyone is doing their part, including students who can lobby for the bill and spread the knowledge.

However, if you are not in a position to create a bill, there are many things each individual can do to help reduce atmospheric fossil fuels. 

Ways to decrease your footprint would include optimizing transportation, such as fewer plane flights, ride the bus or carpool, use an electric or hybrid/fuel efficient car and decreasing use of electricity, such as turning off lights, replacing incandescent bulbs with LEDs, and discussing with your family ways to improve your home’s energy efficiency, insulation, etc,” said McCrory.

We definitely need to take these actions as soon as possible. Climate change is an extremely real and imminent danger that many people do not comprehend the seriousness of. McCrory’s visit to the Green Team was very helpful in grasping a fuller understanding of climate change and all it can do. While not all 2,800 Reagan students were present, it was a good first step in spreading the word. 

“It was really cool to have a professional come speak at the club meeting,” said Chatterjee. I enjoyed hearing about the political action being taken on climate change.”

This is a very important topic that deserves a lot of attention. We do not have long to change our course of action and get our world back on track. Our generation as well as all other climate change believers need to stand up for our earth and destroy the problem as soon as possible.