While some scientists look up to the stars to learn from satellites about the Earth’s climate, others seek answers beneath the ice, studying air trapped in ice cores.
As Earth Day approaches this weekend, UNC experts in environmental and climate science reflect on the local and national efforts toward sustainability, and the optimism they have for future progress.
Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Jim White, an internationally recognized climate scientist, explained the significance of celebrating Earth Day on campus.
“It has a long history,” he said. “It's kind of sad it's only one day a year we focus on the Earth — when this is our home — than 365 days thinking about how we live sustainably on the planet.”
Around campus, a variety of Earth Day activities will be happening this week, including an Earth Day Festival on Thursday from 4 to 7 p.m. The Gardening and Ethnobotany in Academia Project will be hosting an event on Polk Place on Friday that includes lemonade and crafts. Edible Campus will also be hosting a plant giveaway on Friday afternoon in the Pit.
From White's own research analyzing the Earth’s climate patterns, he noted that humans should think about how to live sustainably throughout the year, as the effects of climate change can be seen every day.
“You can never look at one storm and say that's climate change,” he said. “But on the other hand, climate is changing right before our very eyes, and so pretty much everything we see out there is impacted by a changing climate.”
For Angel Hsu, assistant professor of public policy who also teaches within the Environmental, Ecology and Energy Program, Earth Day is about globally recognizing humans' ability to protect the planet.
In Hsu’s work, analyzing data that comes from satellites, she noted that the recent explosion in data available to scientists can uniquely inform them and the rest of the public about changes to the climate.