Men, women, students and children shivered in the outdoor pavilion at Auburn University’s Kreher Preserve & Nature Center on a cold Wednesday night to hear “Is Our Climate Really in Crisis.”
Lella Lowe works with Al Gore on the Climate Reality Project to raise awareness about rising sea levels, temperatures and more intense natural disasters. She posed three questions to her audience of Auburn students and residents: Must we change? Can we change? Will we change?
Must we change?
With slides of data, photos and videos, Lowe showed viewers that climate change is a real, dire problem. She showed a video of Florida’s flooding, wildfires in California and photos of species that may soon be extinct, all caused by climate change, she said.
“We’re doing nothing but warming,” Lowe said. “Eighteen of the 19 hottest years on record happened since 2001 and, in fact, the last five years have been the hottest of all of those.”
She discussed the idea that soon Earth will be past a point of no return, using a startling graph that showed the correlation between CO2 output and increasing temperature.
“Carbon dioxide is being released in the atmosphere faster than at any time in the last 66 million years,” Lowe said.
Can we change?
Lowe proved that as a species, humans are more than willing to change and adapt to new technology and research.
Cellphone usage was predicted to be at 900,000 in 2000, but instead there were millions and millions of users. New technology such as solar panels and practices like ending single-use plastic could be adopted just as fervently, she said.
Lowe finished the presentation by offering each attendee the chance to have a tree planted in their honor. She also handed out information on how to live more eco- consciously.
John Fair said he was skeptical about climate change and global warming, but he was open to much of Lowe’s presentation.
“The oceans are just getting full of plastic and we can’t stop it,” he said.
Fair said that while he agreed with everything she said, there were two topics he felt she should have mentioned: how both population and plastic affect the climate.
“The population has been growing,” Fair said. “... but I think by 2050, I heard it’s going to double or triple. The more people we have, the more carbon dioxide you’re breathing out, the more use you’re going to have of all these vehicles, everything they’re polluting, the more things they’re throwing away.”
Despite agreeing with Lowe, he said discussion doesn’t offer any solutions.
“Use your voice, your vote and your choices,” Fair said. “Speak truth to the power like your world depends on it. Because your world depends on it.”
Will we change?
Lowe handed out a pamphlet, “Sustaining Creation: 48 Steps to Living Sustainable — Actions We All Can Take,” that featured three categories: Toe-Dipping, Getting In Deeper and Immersed as a Way of Life.
Simple tips include becoming more educated on global warming, using public transportation, washing clothes in cold water, avoiding single-use plastic, eating less meat, completing an energy audit, lobbying politicians, and starting a community garden.