HCC students deliberate Climate Change



Students and faculty deliberate about the reality of climate change at the Dale Mabry Campus.

MathiS thoerriSen, editor-in-Chief

  On Feb. 1, HCC’s Honors Institute hosted a deliberative forum on climate change. We can see climate change going on around us every day.

  The summers are longer and warmer, and the winters are shorter and colder. The sea level is rising, as well as the average sea temperature.

  America is supposed to be a world leader in all areas, yet, when it comes to preventing climate change, we are a divided group.

  The United States emits more CO2 per person than most other countries in the world; a baffling 18 metric tons per person, per year, while the world average is 4.6 metric tons per person, per year.

  The forum was organized by Honors Institute Ambassadors Eli Barrera-Nitz and Stephanie Agard. The two ambassadors initially set out separately but joined forces when they realized that they were passionate about the same thing, namely, sustainability and climate change.

  Agard said, “The goal of the forum was to inspire and engage people, also to raise awareness.” Agard and Barrera-Nitz started planning the forum last fall and both agreed “the planning was the hard part, and the forum itself was just fun.”

  The forum started with a presentation by the two ambassadors on how serious the issue of climate change really is in the world. The crowd was then divided
into groups to deliberate about the topic. Each group had a moderator to lead the discussion, who put forward three options on how to tackle climate change. Option No. 1, regulate carbon emissions through legislation, option No.2, focus on dealing with the effects of climate change, and finally, option No. 3, stimulate innovation and “green” technology to solve the problems of climate change.

  After about an hour of discussion, the groups were dissolved and the participants talked amongst themselves while the room was made ready for a Q and A panel of experts.

  The panel consisted of, marine biologist, Dr. Margaret Hopson-Fernandes, HCC sustainability coordinator, Jennifer Smith, international fire ecologist, Rick Anderson and HCC student Jarina “Jay” Molokwu.

  The panel was asked many interesting questions and responded with informed and inspired answers.

  Dr. Margarete Hopson- Fernandes, who is also a professor at HCC, said she was honored to be a part of the forum. “It is very inspiring to experience a group of people talk about issues like this with such civility and professionalism. The fact that we can discuss with each other civilly, means that we can find solutions and make progress toward something more sustainable.”

  This year’s deliberative forum was nothing short of a success. Approximately 60 people attended the forum and everyone seemed to walk out the door with more inspiration and hope.

  Events that stimulte debate is pivotal if we are to change the course of the world.

  Change starts with public discourse, and hopefully, we will have many more deliberative forums at HCC and in the world.