As a Rider Eco-Rep, I am always looking to the campus community for the tools we need to help us “go green.” As a Rider student, I want solutions to be seamless in my everyday life and be a habit, not a burden. Answers to Rider’s environmental problems have included the Quench stations, greener options at the dining facilities, green building construction and renovation and the solar field that benefits the local energy grid. But I have to ask myself, are we doing enough? What are the right things for all of us to do?
I recently watched the film Cool It! by Bjørn Lomborg. He is the author of The Skeptical Environmentalist, a highly controversial book in the “green” world that challenges the scope of climate demise. He claims that overpopulation, declining energy resources, deforestation, species decrease in water shortages, certain aspects of global warming and an assortment of other global environmental issues are unsupported by analysis of the relevant data.
Lomborg wants to set the facts straight. He suggests that we shouldn’t continue trying to scare people into action, because that clearly isn’t effective. He used his research and work with economists worldwide to create a cost-benefit analysis for stopping global warming.
In the film, Lomborg argues that we, societies and the governments that oversee them, need to stop wasting hundreds of billions of dollars on elaborate and expensive actions to stop global warming. He says that this is an emotional reaction rather than one based on scientific knowledge and may have little to no impact on the world’s temperature for hundreds of years. Rather than starting with the most radical procedures, he argues that we should first focus our resources on more immediate concerns, such as fighting malaria and HIV/AIDS and assuring and maintaining a safe fresh water supply — which can be addressed at a fraction of the cost and save millions of lives within our lifetime. He asks why the debate over climate change has stifled rational dialogue and killed meaningful dissent.
Lomborg is the founder and director of the Copenhagen Consensus Center, a globally-respected think tank that brings together the world’s leading economists to prioritize major global problems including malaria, the lack of potable water, HIV/AIDS and declining resources. The film follows Lomborg on this mission to bring the smartest solutions to climate change, environmental pollution and other major problems in the world. He proposes a plan for the $250 billion per year that the UN is pledging to fix global climate change. He suggests putting the money toward research and development of green energy to make sure that we find long-term solutions to deal with climate change, specifically $1 billion goes to research and development of geo-engineering, $30 billion to protect against sea-level rise, $6 billion on inland flooding and $12 billion on urban heat. He then states that we can solve all the remaining problems in the world with the rest of the funds by spending $33 billion on health care, $32 billion on solving hunger, $10 billion on lack of clean water and sanitation and the remaining $22 billion on education to ensure that everyone can read and write. This would promote a worldwide sustainable economy and shape the future of developing nations.
Al Gore only got us halfway to sustainability in his film An Inconvenient Truth. He forgot to mention that there are many scientists and engineers energized about this problem facing our world. The best thing that we can do as individuals and students is support these smart solutions with the choices we make.
You can do this by choosing corporations and organizations that support these efforts. You can encourage your local representatives, state officials and federal leaders to choose the smart solutions by writing letters, making phone calls and signing online petitions. The most important thing we all can do is develop a strong belief in the efforts we want to support and follow through with them. All of our futures depend on that.
The Cool It! film can be purchased on Amazon and iTunes or streamed via Netflix.
Chemistry and Dance double major