Twenty-four Lyndon State College Atmospheric Science Department students joined over 200,000 others for the People’s Climate March in Washington, DC.
The march began in front of the Capitol shortly after 12:30pm and headed along Pennsylvania Avenue to encircle the White House.
Climate March Goal
National planning for the People’s Climate March (there were over 370 sister marches across the country) began in 2014 with one goal: pressure world leaders to act on climate change, as a direct response to a distressing reality. For example, 2016 was the hottest year on record, which had surpassed the previous two records set in 2015 and in 2014. While climate change is often talked about as a future problem, it is actually a current problem.
“I march because what we’re doing today cannot be undone” -Dr. Janel Hanrahan, Professor, Lyndon Atmospheric Science Department
Improving Climate Change Communication
Climate scientists attribute this warming, and associated changes in global weather patterns, directly to human activities such as burning of fossil fuels. Lyndon’s Department of Atmospheric Sciences is providing students with opportunities to help communicate this important message to the public. First, a new Climate Change Science degree is starting this fall. In addition, two ongoing projects, the Lyndon Climate Change Communication group and TheClimateConsensus.com, give students of all ages, as well as scientists and the public, platforms to communicate the science and make a difference.
The journey is more than walking and chanting through the streets of Washington.
“Climate scientist and scientist as a whole kind of just been fed up, and had decided that we need to be as loud as we possibly can. Really what is the point of doing the science if nobody is paying attention,” said Janel Hanrahan a professor of Atmospheric Sciences at Lyndon State College.
Improving Public Communication About Climate Change
One of the biggest hurdles for Dr. Hanrahan and her students is communicating the science to the general public. “Our goal is to communicate the science with the general public to inform them about facts, about climate change,” said Atmospheric Science student Celia Fisher. The Climate Consensus group did just that Monday speaking to a full room of students in Danville. They engaged the audience with analogies they could comprehend.
“In terms of our climate,” says Atmospheric Science student Francis Tarasiewicz, “we have a lot of CO2 in the air, but the temperature is not going to immediately respond. It takes a little while. So we relate that to an oven, where you preheat it to 400 degrees. It doesn’t immediately warm to 400 degrees.”
Moving Forward Following the Science
The group leaves this Friday and will attend the People’s Climate March this Saturday, the 29th.
“If we want to keep moving forward we want to make sure we are leaders in the world. We need to make sure we are following the science and right now we are just not,” said Hanrahan.