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Doing Good with Climate Change

A Moravian College student-researcher takes a water sample along Oregon's rocky coastline.

There are a number of important socio-political issues that have emerged and become part of the national debate. One of the most concerning is the debate about climate change—whether it’s real, accelerated by humans, able to mitigated.This is a sad and alarming phenomenon. As such, students in my fall-semester MGMT 310 course, "Doing Good at Work," explored how we can "Do Good with Climate Change."

Each student selected one topic (listed below), created a research question, reviewed relevant literature, and prepared a paper that responded to the question. The abstracts from these papers are shared below.

In addition to the papers, a 13-part series of video interviews was produced to accompany each sub-topic. Made possible by a grant from the Teaching & Learning Center's Summer Stipend, representatives from NOVA, NAACP, EPA and a number of respected climate scientists and communicators participated.

Special thanks to Dean Diane White Husic and Professor Hilde Binford, for their collaborative support and assistance throughout the semester with our class' course theme.

COURSE THEME

STUDENT

RESEARCH QUESTION

ABSTRACT 

Part 1: Description - What is Climate Change?

Jasmine Pavlinsky ’21

What is the difference between climate change and global warming?

Climate change can be defined as “long term change in the average weather patterns,” which then “defines Earths local, regional and global climate.” (NASA,2020,p.1) On the other hand, global warming is defined as “long term heating of Earth’s climate system” which is “due to human actives, primarily fossil fuel burning.”

Part 2: Etiology - What causes Climate Change?

Morgan Anderson ’21

What are the top three most prevalent climate change causes attributed to human beings?

Humans contribute to climate change by increasing the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Research shows that burning fossil fuels causes an increase in carbon dioxide emissions. Livestock, farms and crops produce methane and nitrous oxide emissions and as a result, deforestation occurs and contributes to climate change.

 

Jarred A Kyra ’21

The impact of fossil fuels on global climate.

The discussion began with a brief overview of each the main fossil fuels - coal, petroleum, and natural gas. Then, I explored the impact that their usage has on global climate. Finally, I concluded with a view of two futures one where fossil fuels are still used, and one where humanity chooses more sustainable energy.

Part 3: Impact - What is the impact (seen and unseen) of Climate Change?

Colin Quinn McAndrew

What is climate change's impact on job opportunities?

I looked at various jobs across the world to see which occupation would be affected the most. The biggest impact I saw was farming, because they rely on the environment and have to adapt to its changed.

 

Vincent Spinelli

What countries in Asia experience the greatest impact from CC?

To answer my research question, China is the country that is currently experiencing the greatest impact from climate change. Other countries such as India, are also experiencing the effects of climate change. In our lifetime, we might see some major coastal cities in Asia flood as a result of rising sea levels. This will have a great impact since it will cause millions of people to have to move into highly populated areas away from the coast.

Part 4: Debate - What is the debate about Climate Change?

Danny Nicolo

Looking ahead to the future, what are the opposing views of the outcomes of not taking climate change seriously, and how it could impact our future.

The opposing views presented through various data prove that there is still uncertainty of what the future holds for Earth. Those that believe humans contribute to a vast amount of greenhouse emissions depict that many communities will be under water, habitats will be destroyed, and there will be many other negative effects that will continue to occur. Those that aren't ready to commit to the idea that humans are responsible for the majority of climate change believe that humans must adapt to the changing climate, but still need to provide more input as to how it can be done quickly and safely.

 

Peter Scheer

How does the media contribute to the climate deniers’ argument?

There is not enough media attention on climate change. The percentage of scientists who believe in climate change is way higher than scientists who believe it is fake (96% to 4%). Last, there is a large amount of false information being portrayed to the public, partly due to this lack of media coverage.

Part 5: Mitigation - How can Climate Change be stopped?

Kaitlyn Fritz

How can dietary habits of college students mitigate climate change?

Personal choices matter, our consumption emits twice as much pollution as cars do. If a more plant- based diet were implemented into just college students everyday life, this would positively impact the effects of climate change. For instance, methane and nitrous oxide emission would be reduced substantially. Mitigation cost over all would reduce significantly. More plant-based eating could not only create substantial benefits for human health and global land use, but can also play an important role in future climate change mitigation policies by creating opportunities to regrow more native vegetation that can counter years of fossil fuel emissions.

 

Annamarie Boyer ’21

What type of education stimulates students to be proactive about climate change?

The reality of the matter is that some students do not see the severity of climate change and how it directly affects them. By educating students on the effects of climate change and emphasizing how these effects directly pertain to their daily life, it will hopefully call them to action and give them internal motivation to do something about climate mitigation.

Part 6: Prospects - Is it too late to make a difference

AnnMarie Saliby ’21

How realistic is it for the U.S. to eliminate our reliance on fossil fuels?

There are a great amount of fossil fuels currently being used in the United States. Although it might be challenging for the us to completely eliminate our reliance on fossil fuels, I do believe there are a few steps we can take to decrease our use of fossil fuels. The food system in the U.S accounts for a very large share of fossil fuel consumption. One step we can take to decrease our usage of fossil fuels is healthier eating habits - less meat more vegetables. Another step we can take towards eliminating our reliance is to limit how often we drive our cars and start walking or biking to places within a reasonable distance.

 

Kody Kolnik ’21

How can we motivate pessimistic people who doubt our ability to positively impact climate change?

Many people doubt that they can positively impact climate change. If people have motivation to do something, this leads to productivity and achieving greater output. People in the world need to have awareness of what is going and and research how they can help reduce the negative effects of climate change. It is not too late because once people become aware, they can work together and everyone can take on climate change.

Part 7: Outcomes - Who/when will we see impact from actions we take today?

Kennedy Jamicky ’21

What changes will happen in the United States in the next 10 years if we do nothing?

If the United States does nothing more about climate change in the next 10 years, communities and society would be changed permanently. We could see effects such as rising sea levels, increased wildfires, increased global temperatures, and dangerous storm surges. We need to come together as a country and as a planet to save our Earth for future generations. The effects of climate change are just going to get worse, the longer we wait.

 

Diana Stavinski ’21

What will it be like to live on a planet in 30 years from now if greenhouse gas emissions are not reduced?

If greenhouse gas emissions are not reduced by the year 2050, we will be seeing record high temperatures all year round. Animals will not be able to adapt quickly enough, causing extinction rates to rise. An increase of carbon dioxide levels in sea will make it hard for their respiratory systems to work, causing breathing trouble.

Part 8: Alternatives - What are renewable energy alternatives?

Michael Mayernik ’21

Which alternative energy source(s) has the smallest carbon footprint

After researching all of the different types of alternatives to energy there are I came to a conclusion that wind power has the lowest carbon emissions. However, does that mean everyone should use wind to stop or prevent further climate change? No. All renewable energy sources would be a huge help as their carbon footprints are much lower than the high carbon footprints that coal and natural gases produce.

 

Olivia Clearie ’21

What different behaviors of American consumption would minimize adverse impacts of climate change?

With new generations and implications, our world has turned to the dilemma of climate change and the alternative practices that would minimize the harmful effects of it. One of the first routes to explore in the effort to minimize climate change is the limitations of nonrenewable resources - cost, damage and supply. If we keep using non-renewable forms of energy at current rates, we will run out much sooner than expected, so therefore we must find alternative forms of economically efficient energy sources such as solar power, wind power, and hydroelectric power, and geothermal energy. Also, changing behavior by walking to work, using public transportation, moving closer to places of work, or biking are extremely beneficial to the environment and and will minimize the damaging effects that climate change has on our planet.

Part 9: Personal Costs - What are the costs of Climate Change to me?

Nicholas King ’21

What are the most pervasive personal costs of climate change among the poor?

Throughout my research there was one particular personal cost that kept popping up - the reduction of agricultural productivity. People living where agriculture is a key part of their survival depend on it for the basic needs that many people take for granted. Effects of climate change such as major shifts in weather and reduction of water availability lead to increased competition for resources and ultimately life and death situations.

 

Brett Moyer ’21

How will CC "cost" us in terms of personal health?

The personal costs involved with Climate Change include morbidity and mortality, heat stress, water and agricultural droughts, along with other economic issues. The labor forces in the agricultural and construction sector are being affected by these climate shifts in ways which people are not physically able to work due to heat.

Part 10: Effect on Disenfranchised People - Why are there disproportionate costs to people of color and the poor?

Franklin Musnuff ’21

How has climate change disenfranchised people of color and the poor?

Climate change is an essential issue of human rights, public health, and socioeconomic equality. It reveals patterns of historic disenfranchisement that leaves poor people and communities of color bearing the weight of the worst disasters. Residents of low-income communities are more likely to be exposed to health risks from increases in dangerous heat events, air pollution, and diseases. They are also more vulnerable to the economic costs, such as job losses and increases in property damage.

 

Michael D Feeley

“What locations in the United States will be appealing to those displaced by climate change?”

The places that climate migrants will want to go will generally be the big cities. The major example is NYC which will be ideal for immigrants of higher financial status. For immigrants with fewer resources, the ideal location is Atlanta GA.

Part 11: Politics - What is the impact of political will on effecting change?

Conor William Sablich ’21

What impact does politics play on the changes we make towards solving the climate change crisis

My course theme paper was about how politics impact the changes we make towards the climate change crisis. I talked about what both sides of the political spectrum think about the crisis. I also talked about why they disagree and how it leads to no change in anything.

 

Shengbo Sun ’21

What are the impacts of Chinese politic will on positively effecting climate change?

In my paper, I discuss four impacts of Chinese political will have on positively effecting climate change: how Chinese politics influences the guideline of scientific outlook on development; promotes environmental-friendly development patterns; urges for the transformation of industry structure; and, influences global movements in diplomacy, in order to cope with climate change.

Part 12: Science - Why is science communication and science literacy so important?

NikNurdra Amran ’21

What is the impact of sea ice melting on the ecosystem inhabited by the polar bear?

A decrease in sea ice leads to a lower population of polar bears. The sea ice is melting due to global warming caused by climate change. The polar bears' survival rates are declining as they are starving from the impact of sea ice melt.

 

Michael Bone ’21

What are the outcomes of effective scientific communication in regards to the issue of climate change?

I found that proper communication in science is of utmost importance, especially when it comes to the issue of climate change. Many people do not even believe that climate change is occurring, so it is up to scientists to not only communicate this information properly, but in a way that gets people to understand and acknowledge what is really going on. Proper communication in regards to climate change can help people become more aware of what is going on, and could get people to actually make a change that could save this planet.

 

Nathan Coursey ’21

How does having a sense of community help to bring awareness to climate change?

At the end of the day, having people who support you and have your back is always positive. When trying to bring light to climate change, the need for support is no different. It is much more effective to address something as big and important as climate change with a team rather than doing it on your own. Different perspectives, ideas, and actions all coming together to produce an ultimate strategy is what is necessary to bring awareness to climate change.

Part 13: Community - How can community and collectivism bring lasting change?

Dylan Snyder ’21

What are the benefits of a community-based approach to Climate change?

As a community, people need to work together to create a better and healthier place for everyone on the planet to live. It does not always have to be huge steps, but it can be smaller steps that make a difference too.

 

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