Teachers Speak on Climate Change – A Concern For Generations

By: Antonea Rufa, Staff Reporter

It is not news that the earth’s climate has been increasing over the years. According to the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, there has been an increase of 1.53 degrees since the late nineteenth century. Whether one wants to accept this as a problem, or call it a hoax, even a meager increase of the earth’s climate has the ability impact the planet we live on.

Although 1.53 degrees does not sound life-threatening, especially in the extensive span of time it has risen, the earth’s temperature will continue to increase, undoubtedly affecting future generations. What may seem to be a trivial change in temperature to some now, has the probability of increasing environmental disasters. According to NASA, these concerns include escalation of droughts, vigorous hurricanes, vast rise in sea levels, heavier precipitation, and a longer growing season, all of which will bring ruinous effects to planet we live on.

Thornton Donovan’s science teachers, Dr. Allen and Dr. Hellge, have given insight on the topic, explaining their views as well as how we can overcome this concern.


Q: What are your views on climate change?

Dr. Allen: “From what I can understand about it, climate change is something that is occurring. I think those of us who have travelled to the foreign north-Alaska, specifically-have seen retreating glaciers. Those of us who have read about farmers in the Heartland who raise corn have seen episodes of tremendous dry periods and tremendous wet periods which ruin crops. Those of us who studied facts know that climate change is occurring. It’s here. It’s real. It’s happening.”

Dr. Hellge“I believe that climate change is happening. While there is a natural cycle of climate change, I know there is definitely a human influence that contributes to it. Our pollution of the world has an influence as it has undoubtedly sped up the change of the climate, and increased the warming of Earth. We desperately need to do something about this.”


Q: How does it have the ability to affect our future?

Dr. Allen:“Climate change will affect our future unless we do something about it. As you know, the human population is increasing, and with climate change, it becomes increasingly more difficult to produce more food, so we may see an impact in nutrition in that there will be a lack of nutrition for areas that cannot produce enough food to feed their population. This is most definitely not a good thing as it promotes instability which can result in a multitude of negative consequences for the world.”

Dr. Hellge: “It severely affects our future because the majority of our population lives on coasts. When the poles melt as the climate gets warmer, the coastal cities will be flooded, forcing the people living there to relocate. This will be a huge undertaking and probably impossible to accomplish. We currently have a problem where we lack correct distribution of food-growing capabilities, and as the climate increases, we will lose areas that we need to produce food. As it gets warmer, we will have an expanding desert; therefore, problems with water will occur, which will likely be a reason for new wars and a lot of suffering.”


Q: Ultimately, how do you suggest we aid in the increasing of the climate?

Dr. Allen“We should think about forms of renewable energy, such as solar and wind. During my visit to Canada last summer, I could see several turbines in the field where farmers were growing crops as I drove through the countryside. The farmers were busy producing electricity in a very clean way by utilizing the air that was blowing. Methods such as those to produce electricity, something all civilizations need, benefit all of mankind. I’d like to see more of that.”


Dr. Hellge: “We must control our pollution by recycling and using fewer resources. Fossil fuels should certainly be put to an end, that way we can transition to producing our energy from renewable energy. We need to be more energy-conscious, as well as being more conscious about conserving nature; this means all biology, from the animal to the plant kingdoms because everything belongs and works together as one big ecosystem that we are part of.”


While climate change continues to affect the Earth, it is crucial, as it has been stated by two members of Thornton Donovan’s exceptional faculty, to do our best to preserve resources in any way which we can.