Even outside of the classroom, climate change is a topic anyone can learn about. To spotlight this issue, one member of Texas Tech shared her expertise with the community today.
Susan Gillette, community outreach director for the Tech Climate Center, members of the Lubbock chapter of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby and other locals gathered at 11 a.m. on July 27 at 4600 48th St. in the Covenant Presbyterian Church to discuss climate change’s effects on Lubbock and the West Texas area.
The effects of climate change, how the issue has grown and methods that could alleviate the issue were all topics discussed during Gillette’s presentation about the local impacts of climate change.
“Citizens’ Climate Lobby is a national organization that is working on legislation for the carbon fee and dividend bill. We do all kinds of advocacy and education for climate issues,” she said. “That’s what we’re doing today. We’re trying to talk to people about why they should care about climate change when we live in Lubbock and West Texas.”
Climate change has consequences Gillette said can negatively impact the Lubbock area.
“Our weather is getting warmer,” she said. “We’re also going to be seeing a lot of drought, which is going to be affecting our agriculture sector.”
Other effects, such as a water deficit, heat-related illnesses and deaths, bigger storms that cause more damage, more allergens in the air and mental health and stress-related illnesses, could result from climate change, Gillette said.
Regarding the need to alleviate some of these issues, Gillette said there are a few ways an individual can be involved.
“One is personal responsibility, and that means what can you do personally to lower your carbon footprint,” she said. “The second batch of things you can do is political action. We’re working to lobby our representatives to talk to them about passing legislation that will mitigate climate change.”
After the presentation, attendees split up into two groups, one that discussed individual methods to combat climate change effects and one that discussed legislative ways to combat climate change effects. Attendees also got a chance to write a letter to U.S. Representative Jodey Arrington, who represents Texas’ 19th congressional district, about their outlooks toward the negative impact of climate change and what the Texas Legislature should do to alleviate some of the issues.
Regardless of the various effects climate change has on Lubbock, educating the public is another task that may need to be accomplished.
“We need to talk to everyone,” Gillette said. “The most important thing we can do about climate change is to start talking about it.”
Whether they be college students or high school students, Gillette said not a lot of young people know about how climate change is affecting them. She said a student group dedicated to educating people about climate change was introduced at Tech.
Stefanie Borst, associate academic dean for the Tech College of Arts and Sciences, said Project Climate is a student organization at Tech that gives any student the opportunity to take part in recycling projects and educate younger kids about climate change.
To join the group, Borst said to contact her at email@example.com. She said she would love to have more students involved.
Regarding peoples’ involvement in combating climate change, Borst said college students are a group of people that can make a difference.
“I think it’s very important to reach out to them,” she said regarding how college students can help alleviate the issues of climate change in the future.
In addition to learning about the effects of climate change, knowing how to resolve related issues may prompt one to get involved in climate change education.
Ed George, member of the steering committee of the CCL Lubbock chapter, said he saw more new faces during this event. He said people can come to presentations, such as Gillette’s, to learn how to promote conversations about climate change and to learn how to approach legislators about climate change issues.
“Studies show that there are a whole lot more people who think it’s a really problem than there are people who are willing to talk about it,” he said regarding conversations about climate change. “I am hopeful that we are going to get people more free to communicate with others about what it is their concerns are.”