As a biology and environmental science teacher at Vanguard College Preparatory School, I think a lot about how this world has changed in the last 50 years. We’ve experienced incredible revolutions in agriculture, molecular biology, space exploration, and technology. I also often contemplate how our world is projected to change in the next 50 years, and—honestly—it's a bit scary.
Despite our best intentions, we are currently experiencing a rate of resource depletion, species loss, and ecosystem destruction that the human population will likely never recover from. Climate change and resource depletion represent our world’s greatest challenges and carry the potential for severe economic, social, and environmental consequences should we choose to not take action. These issues are currently impacting people across the planet but will also continue to have a devastating impact on our children and grandchildren if we do not reverse course. People around the world have already begun to experience the effects of anthropogenic climate change: flooding, severe temperatures and weather phenomena, sea level rise, increased wildfires, changing vector ecology, decreased crop production, and climate-related health impacts.
We have even observed similar effects at home in Waco: excess waste production has filled our landfill years ahead of projections, stormwater runoff has impacted our water quality, and severe weather events have occurred that include drought and severe flooding within the very same year.
Climate change science is undisputed among accredited members of the scientific community. Organizations including NASA, the American Meteorological Society, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the Royal Society, and the U.S. Global Climate Change Research Program all affirm that the currently observed acceleration in climate change and its negative effects is predominately human-caused from increasing greenhouse gas emissions. These effects include changing weather patterns, sea level rise, drought, flooding, glacial retreat, ocean acidification and numerous other impacts. As the largest per capita contributor of carbon emissions, the U.S. should lead the charge in combating climate change and improving sustainability.
Although combating climate change can seem like a daunting and discouraging task, the benefits are clear, and the technology required to take action is improving daily. Models consistently demonstrate that we can also improve our economy, create jobs, lower energy bills, improve health, and maintain environmental conditions for posterity as our country works to meet carbon emission reduction goals. Every action we take to make a difference in climate change and resource consumption, no matter how large or small, will positively impact the habitability of our planet for generations to come. Meaningful actions individuals can take include: reducing consumption of goods and services, reusing things where possible, recycling, and utilizing green energy to power our homes and businesses.
For those who are interested in learning more about sustainability and current green energy technology, the MCC Sustainability Committee, the Center for Reservoir and Aquatic Systems Research at Baylor University, and Waco Friends of Peace/Climate are hosting a one-day conference called Sustainable Waco with the goal of empowering us to develop as a greener community.
This one-day conference will provide an opportunity for all Wacoans—including City administrators, business owners, and private citizens—to gain the knowledge and skills to work and live more sustainably. This conference will feature current research regarding sustainability and climate change and will feature speakers from across the state. If you would like to attend Sustainable Waco, the conference will be held on August 5 th of this year at MCC’s Emergency Services Education Center (ESEC).
Sustainable Waco Conference - August 5, 2019
The cost to attend is $15 per person
Register by calling 254-299-8888 or visiting