UI students join climate-change initiative

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By KayLynn Harris
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Students need to become more involved in the fight against climate change.

That is according to Know Tomorrow, a national student-led initiative taking on the issue of climate change at colleges and universities around the country. The campaign emphasizes student involvement in helping create a more sustainable future.

On Friday, Know Tomorrow will host a national Day of Action in which students are encouraged to send a message about climate change. More than 50 colleges and universities will participate in the initiative, including the University of Iowa.

Various student-led organizations around campus have joined the campaign in an effort to raise awareness among students about the issue by hosting a series of events leading up to the national one.

UI Student Government Sustainability liaison Andrew Hirst introduced the campaign to campus.

“Know Tomorrow is a great campaign that serves as a way to get students better educated, vocalized and active in policy, legislation, and awareness about climate-change issues,” he said.

Hirst noted several organizations at the UI are devoted to climate change.

“UI has a several organizations on campus that are student-run surrounding the issue of climate change,” he said. “There is even an entire office here on campus dedicated to sustainability. The campaign is just another resource to strengthen student involvement.”

This week’s events began on Monday with a lecture on global climate change by Professor H.S. Udaykumar of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department. Udaykumar is tackling sustainability issues in India.

During his lecture, he emphasized the need to shift toward renewable energy, saying, “The movement should have started 20 years ago.”

“There is nothing more important than energy, because solving that can solve so many of the world’s other problems,” Udaykumar said. “It is important that college students get involved because they will be living in the time of the consequences from climate change.”

Today’s activities will include a showing of Years of Living Dangerously: Dry Season, hosted by the UI Human Rights Student Collective, at 7 p.m. in 125 Trowbridge Hall.

The Democrats and League of Conservation Voters will host an opportunity to write local elected officials urging them to take action against climate change and sustainability issues, and the UI Environmental Coalition will host a screening of Merchants Of Doubt.

George McCrory, a communications specialist in the UI Office of Sustainability, highlighted the university’s continuing efforts on sustainability.

Currently, the UI has a series of goals that were set on Earth Day of 2008 to be achieved by 2020. The UI has increased recycling efforts to 40 percent, nearing its final goal of 60 percent.

“Events like Know Tomorrow really increase student opportunity to teach each other about climate change,” McCrory said. “It’s great to see what students can do on an individual level to help UI and ultimately the world become a more sustainable place.”

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