Letter to the editor: Wake up and help the environment

Dear editor,

This morning I had the pleasure of attending a book talk by writer and environmental activist Bill McKibben at the Main Street Landing Performing Arts Center. This event was part of the Burlington Book Festival, and though this particular event lasted only 30 minutes, there is so much to be said.

McKibben came to us first and foremost as a writer. As an aspiring writer, I feel this lens of thought provided a much deeper understanding for me than it would have otherwise had McKibben chose to only address his involvement with 350.org.

McKibben has written a number of books, as well as articles in the New York Times and Rolling Stone.

One example McKibben emphasized stood out to me more than the general or usual concepts of climate change, and this was that in order to keep temperature from rising at most 2 degrees Celsius, there is a certain, very large number of gigatons of carbon we as a species can release.

McKibben acknowledges that a 1 degree Celsius temperature change has already melted 75 percent of Arctic ice in the past 40 years, but that our options are very limited at this point.

A graver statistic is that the fossil fuel industry has five times this amount of combustible carbon stored in reserves, which they will burn if nothing stands in its way.

When I look across the UVM campus, I delight in the efforts of students to recycle, utilize the eco-ware program or take quicker showers. Yet, if these millions of gigatons of carbon are released by the industry, these efforts will be futile.

This was a sobering lecture for me, and it highlighted the necessity for more widespread action from the campus as a whole.

As a university which prides itself on environmental efforts and more importantly, caring, I feel we have the capability as individuals and as a community to help. I would love to see a greater awareness of these grim facts, for I believe the actions of every individual count.


Caroline DeCunzo

Class of 2016