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2015 is now the hottest year on record, according to climate scientists from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The previous record was set by 2014, just the year before.
Fifteen of the sixteen hottest years on record have occurred since 2001. Scientists project that 2016 will shatter the newest record. Although El Niño, the periodic water warming phenomenon in the Pacific Ocean, was especially strong in 2015, most of the year’s warming can be attributed to anthropogenic sources.
As the world continues to focus on global climate change, especially in the wake of last year’s Paris climate talks, Messiah students have a unique opportunity to get involved.
Director of Sustainability, Brandon Hoover says, “Messiah is a national leader in sustainability initiatives, and I think that we are because the student body feels that it is a moral imperative. There’s real opportunity for us to make a difference and students here are a part of that.”
T.J. Cole, a senior sustainable agriculture student, lists ways in which students can make a difference. “We must get into eco-friendly habits such as composting, turning the lights out, taking shorter showers, basically anything to limit our energy usage. We also need to realize the importance of our individual contributions to the environment. The effects of climate change can be ameliorated by individual effort.”
Upcoming campus initiatives include the switch to natural gas, which will allow campus square footage to increase while simultaneously decreasing our carbon footprint. There will also be a new solar thermal array on South Complex, and increased waste diversion efforts, including dorm and apartment composting. Keep an eye on the Swinging Bridge for updates about Messiah’s sustainability program.