The Reality of Climate Change

Under our new president, climate change has become a bigger issue now more than ever and many factors including population explosion, increasing usage of fossil fuels, aerosols, and the destruction of ecosystems for urban development have expedited the process. Despite there being more awareness and activism, countries worldwide taking measures to decrease pollution, and environmental damage, there are still human beings currently existent that believe "climate change is a lie." According to Reuters, just this week, the Trump administration has announced repealing Barack Obama's measures towards protecting the environment.

Scott Pruitt, the new EPA Administrator, stated "I think there are some regulations that in the near-term need to be rolled back in a very aggressive way. And I think maybe next week you may be hearing about some of those."

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But despite unseasonably warm temperatures, let's not sweat it for there are still measures we can take in our daily lives for a little environmental harm reduction. Here is what SUNY Old Westbury professor and seasoned environmental journalist Karl Grossman had to say in an interview:

J.S. Do you believe that the EPA is doomed (a little drastic I know) or rather what would you comment about the future of the environment considering we have a president that believes that climate change is a lie and has nominated someone that is against the EPA's activist agenda?

KG: I sure hope the EPA is not doomed, although Trump and his choice to head the EPA, Pruitt, appear hell-bent on radically weakening the EPA or destroying it altogether. There have been reports of Trump seeking a two-thirds elimination of the EPA's staff and other reports of their moving for a total elimination of this important agency. This is outrageous and will drastically impact a livable environment.

J.S. What do you think are the major causes of detriment to the environment right now here in our country?

K.G. There are many things causing a deterioration of our environment. These include the use of fossil fuels and resulting climate change, the use of pesticides and their effects on the food we eat, nuclear power plants which are allowed to routinely emit radioactivity and any one of them are liable to undergo a catastrophic accident spewing out huge amounts of radioactivity.

J.S. Do you think our campus promotes environmental awareness? If so how? If not what do you think should be done?

K.G. I think the New Academic Building, a LEED building - designed for energy efficiency and to comply with other LEED goals - is a great example at SUNY Old Westbury of promoting good environmental practices.

J.S. Hypothetically if the EPA were to be dissolved, what measures do you think could Americans take to ensure that the environment stays protected, the earth is still respected, the climate isn't drastically altered, the ecosystems stay intact and more animals don't get endangered or close to extinct.

K.G. The dissolution of the EPA would be a blow to a healthy environment. There are state and local environmental agencies which would need to do more and people themselves can take action collectively and individually but retreat by the U.S. government would be a huge loss.

J.S. Lastly, what are some effective ways that we can ensure an eco-friendly lifestyle in our daily life?

K.G. There are so many ways to live a green life. First, folks should gain an education through the many books, TV documentaries, radio programs, magazines, Internet and newspaper articles. And then, empowered with this information, strive to live in harmony with the environment. Moreover, in this time it is highly important to fight against what the Trump administration intends to do, for a livable world. Great national organizations for students to connect with include Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, Beyond Nuclear, Nuclear Information & Resource Service, among others. And there are numerous environmental and safe-energy groups on Long Island and in New York City with which to link.

In addition to Prof. Grossman's helpful insight into the matter let’s be mindful of our surroundings and the other living beings with which we coexist. There are a few easily adaptable ways that can help us preserve our earth for far longer. These include methods such as recycling all our paper and plastic, utilizing alternate forms of energy for fuel such as solar energy, hydropower, windmills, CNG (compressed natural gas), composting, using public transportation, and carpooling. Now is not the time to be ignorant, or to continue denying this issue.

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