Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

December 9, 2023

    Progressing climate change to affect future of Augustana

    As climate change progresses, Augustana College and students could be affected in multiple ways.
    Problems noticeable in the Midwest today include the increasing of hot, humid days, more heatwaves, less cool summer days, rising overnight temperatures and a rising heat index. Ozone pollution, caused by pollutants emitted by industrial boilers, cars, refineries and many other factors, has led to an increase to heat-related health complications – such as asthma – and may even cause difficulties in breathing for otherwise healthy people.
    Junior Jack Harris is president of Augustana’s Sierra club. The Sierra club’s mission is to get people to conserve, protect and enjoy the environment and take students out of the Augustana bubble and make them more conscious of the environment around them.
    “The Midwest is going to get more tropical over the next couple of decades, which doesn’t mean we’re going to grow rainforests, but winters will get wetter and warmer, so basically more springtime. This is going to change, kind of, the way we live during the seasons,’’ Harris said.
    He further explains how climate change results into a culture shift; how our lifestyles will have to change and accommodate: “We are used to having those cold seasons, so I think not having those anymore will feel a little bit like losing a bit of yourself. Winter is not going to be the only thing that is affected by climate change, but losing the cold weather, and losing those nice days of summer – you know, summer is gonna get hotter and more aggravated – it kind of feels like losing a bit of your culture almost. Climate change in that way feels emotional to people.’’
    The increasingly hot summers will eventually lead to a more Northern-Oklahoma climate in Rock Island itself. This means generally warmer temperatures, less snow and less icing over of lakes. However, a lot more polar vortexes are to be expected as well. These are cold spikes, which can have dangerous consequences for flora and fauna; flowers will flourish earlier because of the warm weather, but will then be killed by a polar vortex.
    Of course, Augustana will also be affected by the changing weather.
    “I personally predict it [climate change] might possibly affect the food supply. The environment is changing super rapidly, there are huge migrations happening, so southern species are moving more North. This may increase food prices, which means dining services will have to be resourceful in keeping its food prices down, which could obviously be put on students,” Junior Ryan Johnston, vice-president of the Sierra club said.
    ”Also with the icing and thawing that is happening right now, that may cause a lot of the piping to break. Many people may remember when the slew was drained, and it was because a pipe broke that led to the Rock River. That may happen more frequently in the future,’’ Johnston said.
    Other future consequences for Augustana include the need to adapt to large cooling needs because of the predicted increasing of heatwaves in the summer, and that heating in winter will be more expensive because of the diminishing amount of fossil fuel supplies available.
    Recycling, turning off the water while brushing your teeth, voting for politicians who are not non-believers and not unnecessarily using a lot of power, are a few recommendations given by Johnston to increase environmentally consciousness.
    Augustana has already made some changes to increase the school’s environmental consciousness. The Brew has recently stopped using plastic straws in their drinks, and they have stopped supplying students with plastic bags for their food. Plastic straws have been replaced by strawless lids and paper straws that can be broken down. The silverware used in the Brew, called ‘TaterWare’, is made of potatoes and is a 100% biodegradable. Students adapted quickly to the shift from straws.
    “I think that most students really like the strawless lids, and I have not heard any negative feedback yet of the new straws we’re using. As far as I know, they are working better,’’ the Brew coordinator, Jill Nielsen said.
    “The world is slowly waking up to the seriousness of the issues of climate change. We need action on all levels and in all parts of the globe now. We will soon reach the point that we cannot avoid the worst case scenario climate predictions. We still have time to act, but it will need to be big actions taken quickly if we want to avoid the most serious global consequences,’’ Jennifer Burnham, associate professor of geography said.
    “Small actions magnified over large numbers of people can have big impacts, so don’t let your I’m just a college student mantra be a reason for inaction. Your actions matter,” Burnham said.

    Leave a Comment
    More to Discover

    Comments (0)

    All Augustana Observer Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Activate Search
    Progressing climate change to affect future of Augustana