Last month, we welcomed Dr. Jay Turner, a professor of Environmental Studies at Wellesley College, to join us via Zoom to talk about climate change. Climate change is a very important and pressing topic, and many of us are concerned about the effect of rising temperatures on our ecosystem. Dr. Turner started off by showing how scientists use different types of logical thinking along with measurable data to show how the increase of greenhouse gases caused by human activities is linked to an overall rise in temperatures.
He also talked about how once certain things happen in regards to climate, it can snowball. For example, the rise in temperatures has led to the melting of Arctic sea ice. Arctic sea ice is very reflective, and serves to reflect the sun’s rays back. Just like a black car absorbs more heat than a white car, the ocean now absorbs more heat in the spots where the sea ice has melted away. Thus the loss of Arctic sea ice can lead to an even faster increase in ocean temperatures… which then melts sea ice even faster, and so on.
Dr. Turner also brought up the idea of climate justice in regards to climate change. Rising temperatures lead to such things as rising sea levels and more severe storms. The communities most affected by climate change are not usually the communities responsible for most of it.
So how do we help slow down and mitigate the effects of climate change? Dr. Turner discussed how policies enacted at the federal level can make the most difference. Renewal energy was brought up, and the question of what we could do as individuals to help was discussed. Dr. Turner shared tools such as Berkeley’s CoolClimate calculator, which helps determine our own carbon footprint.
This was a very enlightening and helpful talk, and we are thankful to Dr. Jay Turner for sharing his expertise on such an important topic.