Go green for the future

NW Staff and NW Staff

Many would like to dismiss the issue of global warming, but it is a problem that cannot be ignored. While politicians contest the issue endlessly, within the scientific community, the debate is over. Recently, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a committee within the United Nations, acknowledged the severity of global warming. The IPCC report indicates a more than 3-degree Fahrenheit rise in average temperatures from pre-industrial times, a figure the IPCC claims is a “dangerous” change to nature.

On Monday, April 22, people will volunteer their time and efforts to protect our planet from further destruction in celebration of Earth Day. This date should be used as a rallying point for students and the community to begin living a greener lifestyle.

Earth Day has been viewed historically as an observance for the idealist ecology movement, and it’s time for that view to widen. It’s time for everyone to do his or her own part. While it’s unrealistic to advise college students to start looking for their own $22,000 hybrid Toyota Prius, college students need to take individual steps toward a greener earth.

Northern students should take advantage of local markets and buy locally grown and produced foods whenever possible. The average meal in the United States travels 1,200 miles from the farm to the plate, consuming pollution-causing fossil fuel in the process, according to the IPCC report. Regional foods are less expensive due to a lesser cost in shipping, and buying goods produced in the area helps local economy.

Americans should recycle as much as they can. The United States throws 200 million tons of trash into landfills each year, according to the NMU Recycling Committee Web site. This year, NMU residence hall students received one recycling container per room, in an effort to increase the recycling effort.

Throughout the year, students should walk, bike or carpool to class. The advantages of walking far outweigh the daily damage to the environment caused from a gas-powered vehicle. Being lazy is no excuse.

Lastly, Americans need to go to the polls in 2008 with the environment in mind. The Bush administration’s environmental record has been atrocious. For the United States, and the world, to begin curbing the global warming trend, it’s important to have a leader with environmental concerns.