Adelphi University College of Arts and Sciences faculty, alumni and students weigh in on the controversial issue of global warming.
When the following question was posed to the campus community:
Do you believe in global warming? If so, can it be prevented and what are you doing to prevent it?
We discovered the faculty, alumni and students alike provided passionate opinions and in-depth knowledge on the subject. Here’s what they had to say:
“It’s not a matter of debate, or of believing in global warming/climate change. It is rather a proven matter, substantiated by a growing record of deductively retrieved interdisciplinary data. Unfortunately global warming cannot be prevented as we are already quite at an advancing state within the progression of climate change…yet…we must take essential leadership steps that will aim to consider the long-term effects of the decisions to be taken in managing the plethora of expected and suspected changes that will proliferate by climate change; to delay and, most importantly, deter, among other perils, the rather persistent evolutionary parameter, namely extinction.”
Anagnostis Agelerakis, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair, Department of Anthropology
“Global warming and climate change are facts, not beliefs. They are not refutable. I bring awareness of the issues through my teaching, research and publications. I drive less and conserve electricity. Renewable energy is the future because the two-degree centigrade increases in the Earth’s temperature, which will dramatically change our weather, coastlines and cause tremendous damage to the planet, is already predicted to happen by the U.N. Environment Programme. The world must act now so it is not worse than that. Fossil fuels and nuclear energy are not the energy futures.”
Regina Axelrod, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Political Science
“Global warming, and the science that documents global change, is not based on belief. We are talking about tens of thousands of research papers and studies, and thousands of researchers working over decades to identify how our climate is shifting, and modeling the impacts. Either accept the data or reject it, but this is not the equivalent of the Tooth Fairy. Belief plays no role. We cannot prevent global warming. It is well underway. Our options now include determining how devastating it will be for life on our planet. The changes we’ve seen in recent years are only the tip of the iceberg; incredible change is coming. If we reduce our carbon footprint now, today’s Adelphi undergraduates have a fighting chance at a decent life, not too far away from the standard they are living now. If we continue on this pathway and pretend that this is a debatable issue, our future will be quite bleak indeed.”
Beth Christensen, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Director, Environmental Studies Program
“Yes, I believe in global warming. However, I’m not convinced that the current warming and seasonal shift we are experiencing are solely a result of human actions. I think it is a legitimate theory that a lot of it may be due to normal global environmental change over time. In any case, mankind has a responsibility to care for this planet, and since it seems likely that our actions are making it worse, we should do what we can to protect our world. I am very conscientious about recycling in particular and in my family we all try to remind each other to conserve. We remember to turn out the lights in an unused room and try to never leave the faucet on.”
Senior, English major
“Earth’s temperature is determined by the radiation energy emitted by the sun. I am open to the possibility of such an occurrence as global warming. However, I’m passionately certain that its prevention is out of human hands.”
James Papavero ’12
“There is ample evidence for global warming, even taking into account what must be normal long-term cycles of temperature change. Can global warming be prevented? I would choose the word ‘reduced’ instead of ‘prevented.’ This would take a highly concerted effort by the major nations of the world now and into the foreseeable future. My own personal contribution, surely only a tiny drop in a very large bucket, is to reduce my carbon footprint in as many ways as I can. And as a teacher of many young people each year, my effort is to help them understand the dire nature of this problem.”
George Russell, Ph.D.
Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Biology
Yes, I do. In fact, my father-in-law is an environmental scientist and was part of the first generation of scientists to publish research on climate change. Well, I’m not an expert on whether it can be prevented. But we do try to do our part on this front. My family has gone from using two cars to using one car (a Prius). We try to use mass transit when possible and we recycle and try to buy produce and other things that are ecologically responsible.”
Peter West, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Chair, Department of English
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