By Katie Grovatt, Reporter
Waco group Friends of Peace has been taking huge steps to advance the local environment into a more sustainable atmosphere. They have recently taken large strides in educating future generations of the importance of caring for our environment.
Most recently the organization participated in a “Climate Change Kills” Die-In demonstration. On Oct. 17, the group gathered on the corner of Valley Mills drive and held signs aiming to make a powerful statement urging citizens to be more concerned about climate change. The group’s efforts were in honor of The People’s Climate Movement’s national day of action, celebrated on Oct. 14.
“Climate change and the actions we take right now will have a huge impact on future generations, the idea of the die in was to try and bring attention to the issue,” said Alan Northcutt, leader of Waco Friends for Peace.
According to Northcutt, climate change is a serious problem that some climatologists believe could lead to human extinction.
“Ten percent believe there is a serious chance for human extinction, and a few climatologist believe that it will be a definite that our species won’t make it,” Northcutt said. “There is a very low attention for its degree of importance.”
Northcutt believes that all the severe weather being experienced is a direct result of warming temperature. The heaviest rainfall ever in the state of Texas occurred in 2015. Northcutt says that because of higher temperatures, more moisture gathers in the air.
“Warm air will hold more moisture and when you do get rain, you get heavier rain and floods,” Northcutt said.
The year 2015 has also experienced many severe weather related extremities. South Carolina has had the heaviest rainfall in 1,000 years. The recent Hurricane Patricia experienced in Mexico recorded 200 mph winds, the most powerful yet.
“Every time you hear a weather related report, they always are saying it’s the worst we’ve ever had, it’s constantly extreme temperatures,” Northcutt said.
The Friends for Peace group has reached out the Waco community in other areas as well. They are working on an ongoing project of distributing climate change books to elementary and middle schools around the area. These books are illustrated and written to appease young students and educate them about the dangers rising in our actions towards the Earth. The group has already reached 30 different schools in the Waco area.
“They are going to be the ones to be more severely effected [by climate change],” Northcutt said.
The group has also given away reusable shopping bags at the Waco Downtown Farmers Market for the past two years on Earth Day. Last year they gave away about 1,500 of the reusable bags. This was the group’s first step towards efforts to eliminate plastic bag usage in Waco.
On Sept. 23, Northcutt appealed to the City Council meeting proposing that Waco initiate a ban on single use plastic bags such as the ones given away at grocery stores.
The group has also enacted a petition that citizens can sign that will help promote this proposed ban. Users can find this petition on moveon.org by searching Waco or by going to http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/waco-tx-citycouncil?source=c.fwd&r_by=444453.
Many Baylor students feel as if climate change is a serious issue that people lack education on.
“I don’t know much about it but I think it probably is a serious issue that people don’t take seriously and we aren’t really trying to prevent it,” Waco junior Cara Nelson said.
Dallas junior Maddie Zimmerman believes we have an obligation as students to inform other generations of the growing issues to our environment.
“Most people know about climate change but I don’t think most people know exactly what they can do about it. As Baylor students, we need to spread the word on how we can decrease the rate of climate change by being more environmentally friendly,” Zimmerman said.
Voorhees, N.J., junior Mike Chuang believes that protecting our environment is part of our duties as Christians.
“I believe that it’s our duty to be good stewards of this beautiful earth that God has given to us, which means finding greener solutions to everything,” Chuang said.
Northcutt provide students with two major steps they could take to help reduce their impact on the environment. He encouraged students to look into who services their electric. One concrete thing students can do when they live in an apartment is to select an electric provider said Northcutt. He encourages students to change their provider to Green Mountain energy.
“Green Mountain energy is 100 percent renewable, and I didn’t find it to be more expensive at all,” Northcutt said, “Some students probably get a bill directly, and those that do can look at who the company is, if you switch to Green Mountain you know it’s 100 percent sustainable.”
Northcutt also advised students when picking out their future cars to look for hybrid or electric alternatives.
“The transportation sector is one of the major sources of greenhouse gases, and those cars help you feel good about driving,” Northcutt said.
Northcutt also encouraged students to attend some of Waco Friends of Peace monthly meetings. The group meets on the second Thursday of every month at Poppa Rollas Pizza on Valley Mills Drive.