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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Saturday, June 22, 2024

Collegiate activism needed

The Green Room is a new series from The Daily Cardinal dedicated to focusing on issues relating to the environment and energy. For its inagural article we have a contribution from the Wisconsin Students Public Interest Research Group (WISPIRG), one of UW-Madison's foremost organizations in the field of environmental advocay. If you are interested in writing for The Green Room, contact us at opinion@dailycardinal.com.

Historically, many groundbreaking movements, such as civil rights and antiwar campaigns, begin on college campuses. As college students at UW-Madison, we live in a diverse environment that provides thousands of opportunities, from bouncing like jumping beans at football games to taking part in groundbreaking scientific endeavors. The current environmental climate, however, calls for all students to jump around to the issue of climate change and do something about it.

We cannot ignore the effects of harmful human activity to our environment any longer. I'd like to be singing ""Baby, It's Cold Outside"" during the normally chilly holiday season, but as most students have noticed, our seasonal Wisconsin winters are taking a vacation. But climate change has worse effects than warmer winters, as most students who have heard anything about global warming surely know. But instead of drilling these frightening facts into our heads for what seems like the millionth time, we should focus on what we can do to change the dim future global warming projects. So stop ignorantly enjoying this warmer weather and realize the issue at your ungloved hand.

We have the solutions and technology to combat climate change. We have the scientists who have decided what is the safe upper limit of carbon dioxide for the environment. What we do not have are enough politicians willing to use these tools to save us from our disastrous future. Beginning Dec. 7, the U.N. will be meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark, to outline a global climate treaty, but the current plans are too weak to ensure an effective environmental change.

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Being the wonderfully bright students we are, living in a politically active city like Madison and knowing this information, it is not too much of a head-scratcher as to what the necessary action should be. We need to influence our politicians to fight this crisis and be influential in Copenhagen. The opportunity is here. The Climate Convention may go one of two ways: We can continue to spiral downward, or we can look up to a bright future—a bright future we can help create.

Letter-writing to politicians is one of the most effective ways of persuading them to act on your behalf. Amnesty International, for example, relies heavily on letter writing, and with their actions, they recently helped release the unjustly imprisoned in Iran, Myanmar and China. Let's foster the history of groundbreaking movements on college campuses and encourage our politicians to take action.

Melissa Grau is a freshman member of WISPIRG. Questions can be directed to Campus Organizer Samantha Gibb at samantha@wispirgstudents.org. Please send feedback on this article to opinion@dailycardinal.com. 

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