One of the promises that President Trump made before his inauguration was his plan to take the United States out of the Paris Climate Agreement.
This worldwide treaty, signed and accepted by 127 parties, was enacted in November 2016. This agreement focused on finding ways to end the carbon footprint, effectively finding a way to reverse or reduce climate change.
Millersville is just one snippet of a whole network of parties in the United States, and the world, that has adapted this goal. The numerous actions that Millersville intends to put into place are demonstrated under the plan called “Our Bold Path.”
Trump has not pulled out of the Paris Agreement as of yet, however the deletion of the Climate Change webpage on the White House’s website indicates that changes may be made.
Despite the potential grave future for the Paris Agreement in the United States, Millersville University’s Sustainability Manager Chris Steuer hasn’t given up hope.
“Nationally, without federal leadership on the issue, I think you will see states, localities, business and universities continue to carry the mantle,” Steuer said. “Particularly those entities who recognize that investments in energy efficiency and clean energy can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and drive economic growth.”
Students, too, are passionate about the national state of affairs.
“I am both angered and upset that President Trump intends to pull out of the Paris Agreement,” said Jessica Stokes, a senior majoring in Emergency Management and Geography.
“This agreement is the first time all countries have agreed that there needs to be something done about climate change, and for the United States to pull back that recognition could influence less developed countries to pull out too,” Stokes said.
“In a different sense,” Stokes continued, “it affects the students across the nation because our generation, the ‘millennials,’ are going to be observing first-hand the changes in climate throughout our lives.”
Whether or not one believes in global warming, or questions the validity of human impact on the temperature, statistics show that various places throughout the world are at a higher temperature than what they were in years prior.“It will be our generation who explains to the next how there used to be ice caps at the poles, and how polar bears were not just an animal that can be seen at the zoo, that coral reefs once had thousands of species of fish and their beautiful colors could be seen above the ocean’s surface.”
Millersville will still continue with “Our Bold Path” despite what the future may bring, said Steuer.
“Millersville committed to carbon neutrality in our Strategic Plan (Our Bold Path) by signing the Climate Commitment well before the Paris Climate Treaty was ratified,” said Steuer.
Some of the efforts Millersville takes may not be that noticeable to the public, but they make a difference overall, said Stokes.
“At 9:00 PM every night, the air conditioning and heat in most the academic buildings on campus is turned off and temperatures then float on their own,” Stokes said. “Around 6:00 AM the following morning, the air conditioning and heat turn back on, and the building is back at a comfortable temperature for faculty and students in the morning.”
There are also numerous organizations on campus that promote an ecologically friendly approach.
Student Senate has recently began a sustainability campaign. Additionally there are “Green Ambassadors” who go around the resident halls and encourage sustainable behaviors.
Future events include GreenCon, which will be hosted in March, as well as ‘Ville Unplugged, which will occur for three weeks in April.