Things college students often worry about: GPAs, exams, jobs, social lives… College students’ minds are always a buzz with concerns.
Something college students should worry about but probably never do: the extinction of the human race.
Unfortunately, that’s a possibility that is more real than people care to admit. Scientists from Stanford say the sixth mass extinction is taking place on our planet. No. 5 took out the dinosaurs. It’s also the first caused by a single species: us. Scientists predict we may lose half the species on the planet by the end of the century. This era is called the Anthropocene, or “Age of Man,” because the evidence shows that humanity has sparked this catastrophic loss.
Our lack of concern for the environment is what has triggered this possible extinction. Human-caused climate change is one of the huge forces pushing our own species to extinction. According to a leaked report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the human body could likely succumb to limits on abilities to regulate heat, potentially cutting global productivity in warmer months. Body temperatures could also rise, impairing physical and cognitive functions and, depending on how high the body temperature reaches, causing loss of consciousness or death.
While all of this is scary, it doesn’t necessarily render us helpless. For Rider students, the one thing that we can do is the one thing that we are meant to do: stay educated. The Office of Sustainability is providing one way to make that happen, through the screening of the film Racing Extinction on April 12 and 13 in Sweigart 115 at 7 p.m. Oscar-winning director Louie Psihoyos says the film is intended as a call to arms to prevent a bleak future for Earth and its steadily vanishing species. The film centers on an unlikely team of activists out to expose the realities facing endangered species across the globe. It also focuses on an idea: We are the only ones who can stop this.
“My intention in making the film is not just to create the awareness, but to create a campaign, a movement,” Psihoyos said.
So, Rider, let’s do our part in trying to stop a catastrophic event that could eventually lead to the end of the generations we leave behind. Mass animal extinction, global climate change, illegal wildlife trafficking… The problems are overwhelming. The solutions, however, must start within each of us. It only takes one thought, one action or one leap of faith to change the world we live in. A movement can be born when hope is ignited. And when we are racing against our own extinction, that hope can go a really long way.
Westminster Eco Rep
Printed in the 04/06/16 issue.