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Becoming aware of global warming first step toward change


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Published 2008-04-01T00:00:00Z”/>

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Jacqueline Carambat

If there is anything that brightens up a college student’s attitude, it’s a warm sunny day. It’s easier to get out of bed, more people seem to be in a good mood and there’s just something about a nice day that makes beer taste better.

Though the warm weather makes some Chicoans happy, other places around the world don’t appreciate it as much.

Last week, an ice chunk seven times the size of Manhattan collapsed off the Wilkins Ice Shelf on the western side of Antarctica, CNN reported. The ice from the shelf has been around for hundreds, possibly even thousands of years.

Even more devastating, this breakage has left the 5,571 square mile shelf – roughly the size of Connecticut -“hanging on by a thread,” CNN reported.

The Wilkins Ice Shelf is the largest on the Antarctic Peninsula at risk of collapse, and some scientists are worried. The area of the peninsula that stretches toward South America has warmed more than any other place in the world during the last 50 years.

“I didn’t expect to see things happen this quickly,” said David Vaughan of the British Antarctic Survey, according to its Web site.

As a student in Chico, a small city thousands of miles from Antarctica, one question springs to mind: Why should we care? A bunch of falling ice in Antarctica doesn’t even make the back-up list of things we think or worry about on a daily basis.

But the suspected culprit behind the collapsing ice is something everyone should be concerned about: global warming.

“Even though they seem far away, changes in the polar regions could have an impact on both hemispheres, with sea level rise and changes in climate patterns,” CNN reported.

I have a confession to make: I’m not the most environmentally conscious person. Chico State is one of the most eco-friendly and sustainable colleges in the state, so I feel a little shameful.

I like to take long showers, I haven’t switched to compact fluorescent light bulbs and my house’s idea of recycling is throwing beer cans on our front lawn for the bums to collect.

I’m not the poster child for sustainability.

Some of the potentially devastating changes we could face include warmer winters, more intense tropical storms and at least a 2-foot rise in sea levels, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

I guess San Francisco will have to be called the city in the bay rather than the city by the bay.

But being that I’m graduating and would like to live in the city by the bay, I figure it’s time to take these startling events to heart and do my part in making a change.

Chico State has done its fair share to remain environmentally friendly. Solar panels on Yolo Hall and Acker Gym provide “green” energy for the university and there’s free bus transit for faculty, students and staff. Even the new Student Services Center and Wildcat Activity Center are Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certified.

I haven’t gotten around to installing solar paneling on my roof yet, but I have cleaned out a large bucket that’s been collecting leaves and rainwater the past few months to start recycling. And our new shower clock radio not only makes my showers more enjoyable, but its handy timer let’s me know when my shower needs to end.

Though these slight changes seem small they may just keep our world a little cooler and a bit greener.

Jacqueline Carambat can be reached at<a href= “mailto:[email protected]”>[email protected]</a>

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        Becoming aware of global warming first step toward change