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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

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Climate crisis in the new year

Climate+crisis+in+the+new+year

Addressing climate change in 2020

Less than a month into the new year, consecutive calamities have struck around the world. While we may be compelled to label these disasters as “natural,” science suggests these wildfires, floods and earthquakes are far from natural; they are brought on by human activity.

In Australia, it’s fire season. The hot and dry summers make the country more prone to fires that spread and are difficult to stop, as seen in the recent catastrophic fires across the country. About 28 people are dead and more than 3,000 homes have been destroyed or damaged, and approximately half a billion animals have been impacted, while millions are potentially dead, according to the University of Sydney.

In Jakarta, Indonesia, home to 9.6 million people, another tragedy occurred. In early January, more than 30,000 people were displaced and at least 60 died as a result of floods caused by heavy rain. Rujak Center for Urban Studies describes the quantity of rainfall that led to city flooding as “equivalent of 72,000 Olympic-size swimming pools.”

[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#cecece” txt_color=”#000000″]“We should be more clear on what it is that students, faculty, staff and administrators can and should be doing to make both individual and institutional contributions to addressing climate change.”[/mks_pullquote]

In December 2019, Puerto Rico was hit by a series of earthquakes. Puerto Ricans are now fearful more quakes will occur, especially after the territory has finally recovered from the catastrophe caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017.

There is a deadly famine gripping Eastern and Southern Africa, sea levels are rising in the Nordic regions, species of plants and animals are being forced into extinction around the globe, and the list goes on. These catastrophic occurrences should convince us that we should address the fundamental causes of climate change.

Listing the disasters above is our attempt to confirm what you see on your social media timelines or in news headlines. We hope that placing these events next to each other on this page paints a bigger picture impending global disasters. Climate change is imperative to take seriously because, as the United Nations argues within its Sustainable Development Goals, “it is disrupting national economies and affecting lives, costing people, communities and countries dearly today and even more tomorrow.”

Pope Francis published “Laudato Si” in 2015, an encyclical that preaches the necessity in protecting our planet as it is our common home. As a Jesuit institution, we should strive to live out the call to protect and preserve “our home” starting here on our campus.

We should be more clear on what it is that students, faculty, staff and administrators can and should be doing to make both individual and institutional contributions to addressing climate change. Our classmates from Puerto Rico know all too well what it means to experience the impacts of climate change.

The impacts of climate change are literally at our doorstep. The earth is heating up, but it may not be too late to undo some of the damage. That is if we don’t heed the many warnings, and don’t make substantial earth-level changes. These natural disasters will continue to occur until they have affected everyone’s lives.

We all have a responsibility to this earth and to each other. If we don’t act now we will destroy “our common home.”

—The Editorial Board

 

This week’s Editorial Board is comprised of the Editor in Chief, Managing Editor, Copy Chief, News Editor, Online Editor, Opinions Editor, Editorial Page Editor, Features Editor, Assistant Features Editor, Special Projects Editor, Senior Editor and Photo Editor. This editorial reflects the views of the Board and not the entire Hawk staff.

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