In light of a recent climate disaster, Ohio University should reconsider its fossil fuel energy source
Earlier this month, Cyclone Pam struck the island nation Vanuatu, which is located in the South Pacific Ocean off the coast of Australia. The UN estimated that the storm affected about 166,000 people and reported that the death toll was up to 17 as of Saturday. Winds up to 165 mph caused severe damage, and the nation needs all the help it can get.
Some blame climate change for the disastrous storm and the threat of rising sea levels. The United States Environmental Protection Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration both concur that sea levels are rising and the New York City Panel on Climate Change, co-chaired by a NASA researcher, issued a report warning the city of rising sea levels and the devastating effects that are predicted to take place in the not-so-distant future.
Cyclone Pam and similar occurrences of climate change leave our world with no choice but to act. Our society has long been intertwined with fossil fuels, but we must start to work for a clean future that benefits everyone. Carbon emissions and the burning of fossil fuels must be cut drastically to ensure a safe future for our planet.
Ohio University is at a crossroads with what to do with its energy infrastructure. The time to stop using coal has begun, and the university has decided to build a natural gas pipeline that can fulfill the energy needs of this campus. Stopping the use of coal is important, but to replace it with natural gas is simply missing the point. Going from one evil to another does not bode well for the future of OU, especially if long-term investments are being made for solutions that are not in tune with the future of energy.
With events like Cyclone Pam, the future of our earth is in the hands of the people that burn fossil fuels. How can we rebuild a clean society that won’t be responsible for disastrous climate effects and the destruction of ecosystems? We have to cut our dependence to dirty energy and the divestment movement and clean energy for institutions is already doing this.
OUCAN is a local group that is pushing for a renewable Ohio University, and that is the solution that OU needs to ensure a better future. The time to act is now, and it is time to forget the past and build a clean future.
Hopefully Vanuatu perseveres through this tragedy, and the necessary steps are taken to combat climate change.
Grant Stover is a sophomore studying English, a member of the Environmental Committee on Student Senate and a member of the Sierra Coalition at Ohio University. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or find him on Twitter at @grant_stover.