By Niamoni Watson
The 2015 World Climate Conference is underway in Paris to discuss the urgency of the earth’s climate state. While many of world leaders gather in Paris, people in Athens are taking notice, as well. According to the UGA Climate and Society, Georgia has been rapidly warming about one degree fahrenheit since 1965 and is expected to continued.
One main focus of the world conference will be a global, legally-binding treaty to fight against climate change. The climate treaty will effect everyone, even on a local level. Chris Cuomo, Professor of Environmental Ethics, said this agreement from a higher level will hold local government accountable to implement change since the effects are not only harmful on the outside, but on the inside as well.
“These effects are more immediate on the ground, increase in asthma, increase respiratory disease, cancer from environmental pollutants,” said Cuomo.
To fight against the rapid climate change locally, the Office of Sustainability developed a Climate Action Planning Task Force in coalition with other offices, UGA Departments, Institutes and Centers. The Task Force is implementing a gas “emissions reduction plan” in an efforts to slow down the earth’s increasing temperatures. The University of Georgia’s Strategic Plan goals includes reducing the University’s carbon emissions by twenty percent and consumption of energy by twenty five percent by year 2020.
Students are also making an effort to slow down climate change. UGArden is a student-run farm by student and volunteers to produce “vegetables, fruits, mushrooms and herbs using organic practices.” Locally grown produce can help global warming by eliminating gas emissions that would be used for food transportation.
“It’s surrounded around the sustainable agricultural idea. It’s amazing to see the community come out and buy a produce stand or even just buy some fresh herbs or fresh greens,” said Hannah Rull, UGArden Secretary.
Turning off lights when leaving the room, turning off facets while not using the water, and lowering the air conditioning are other simple ways to decrease the amount of energy use.