Why Are We Still Debating Climate Change??

Some time ago I attended a debate night on Marist College campus between the Democrats Club and the Republicans Club. The evening was divided into three sections covering the subjects: immigration, environmental policy, and bi-partisanship.

During the second section of the evening, environmental policy, the only argument the Republicans Club could produce was denial of man-made global warming and its harmful effects. I was shocked. An argument I had assumed was reserved for stubborn baby-boomers and corporate pigs, was being argued in front of me by 20-somethings at a liberal arts college.

How is this possible? They have never known a world without environmental activism but yet they choose to ignore the arguments at hand simply because an opposing side affirms its factuality.

As we barrel into the 2020’s, society must all be in agreement that the environment desperately needs our attention.

According to NASA, the average surface temperature of Earth has risen 1.62 degrees Fahrenheit since the 19th century. Additionally, NASA states that global sea levels have risen 8 inches in the last century. These alarming facts now appear to be up for debate as the global environment barrels out of control.

Rising global temperatures will not make humans combustible as some global warming deniers would believe, but the slightest degree change can put more moisture in the air causing greater storms and more flooded cities.

When asked about the state of the environment right now, all answers were unanimous: “not good.” Nora Nucullhaj, class of 2022, elaborated, “I think that if [humanity] does not do something, the environment is going to reach a point of no return. I’m vegan because animal agriculture is one of the top reasons for deforestation and results in more greenhouse gases.”

Many members of Generation Z, like Nucullhaj, are choosing ethical lifestyles in the hopes of making a difference. Members of the younger generation are going beyond acknowledging the problem but trying to implement a solution as well.

Senior Allison Germano gave me a substantial list of companies she uses when asked about her environmental habits. One such company was Gove Collaborative, a home and beauty company that sells only environmentally friendly products.

Whether it be the celebration of Earth Day by reading the Lorax in elementary school or donating resources to save the rainforest in middle school or purposely creating sustainable technologies in high school, I have never known an education that does not advocate for the environment.

I acknowledge the opposing point of view, accepting facts about the world ending happening is a hard truth to accept. This truth is especially hard if members of an opposing political party fully pledge by it. The hesitation to accept the truth is a reality that must be acknowledged to be fixed.

Fake news, immigration policy, and financial trends should all be dwarfed by the environmental doomsday clock that has been set to explode for 2030, this according to the UN. It’s hard to debate border crossings when the border is under water.

I’m not a scientist, I’m a journalist, so my solutions to save the world are limited to what I can do every day. But the power of the press can be utilized to reach those who need to hear this message the most. A dilemma that has been passed down for generations has reached its last round.

Sophomore Donald Jones said it best,

“It’s the only planet we know, future generations will be affected in our lifetime if we do not change now.”

Marist Relocates Trees Before Dyson Addition

Marist College uproots and moves trees ahead of 2019 Dyson Renovation on campus green.

The week before Easter break, students noticed orange, plastic fencing around the Dyson Hall quad. The bright orange barriers enclosed a large area encompassing two oaks trees. This is the site of the new Dyson Hall addition coming in Fall of 2019.

Yellow bulldozers and back-hoes converted the quaint campus green into a construction site with unearthed soil littering the area. Machines dug around the two oak trees and landscapers bagged the tree’s roots similar to how a garden plant is transplanted.

Once the trees were bagged and tied together, giant forklifts had the impossible task of unearthing trees that have been growing for a decade. At one point during the extraction, the machine could not counter the weight of the tree, which in turn lifted the machine as oppose to the tree.

While most students are perplexed about the project, Justin Butwell of the Physical Plant office has been planning this project for a while.

“The oak trees that are being relocated were planted in 2011. They are in the area of the proposed Dyson Addition project, so we decided to relocate the to the area between Lavelle and O’Shea Halls, instead of cutting them down in the near future.”

When asked about the cost of this project, Butwell explained that he does not feel comfortable disclosing an exact amount but assures that relocating the trees are “a substantially less expensive” project than planting new trees of similar size.

The lengthy process of uprooting and moving trees make some students positive that the school is adopting environmentally friendly techniques. Matthew Pullman, class of 2022, says, “I am happy the trees are not just being chopped down, but they are moving them elsewhere.”

However, Butwell explains this is not a new process. Marist College has uprooted and moved trees before the migration of these two oak trees.

Despite the orange, temporary fencing surrounding the relocation project some could wonder if such machinery is safe on a college campus. Butwell assures that all safety precautions are being taken to insure the safety of students during the project.

But some students are indifferent of the whole matter. Freshman Julia Capparelli did not notice the relocation process, and says she does not look forward to the noise from the Dyson renovation.

Whereas other students considered the positive aspect of the Dyson renovation. “It is a good idea if it is going to make Dyson a better place,” sophomore Caitlin De Vita says before adding, “I think the ‘L’ shape is going to be weird for Dyson Hall and also the reduction of the campus green is kind of sad.”

The “L” Shape Vita is referring to is the future lay-out of Dyson Hall after the renovation is complete.

While these oak trees are being saved in time for Earth Day, there are still two other trees in the designated Dyson Addition site. There is no word on the future of either of the remaining trees.

GENERATION Z SCARRED BY 2008 RECESSION

College students of today are anxious of the next step as childhood memories of the Great Recession invoke anxiety.

The Great Depression left a bitter memory for those who endured it. The tough financial difficulties of the 1930s influenced the conditions of family life across America. Confused by the state of their family, Depression-era children carried a sense of financial conservativism that lasted their entire lives.

2008 saw the worst US economic recession since the Great Depression, the years that followed saw financial struggles unknown in recent history. Though not as worse as the Depression, because of the many social welfare programs put in place to prevent another depression like social security, unemployment benefits and food stamps.

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 8.7 million Americans lost their job between winter of 2007 and spring of 2010. This period of economic trough was called the Great Recession, and Generation Z was just coming of age during this stressful time.

While the severity was not the same, the poor economic environment of the Great Recession still confused young people and may have left a lasting impact.

Just as the Depression mentally scarred children in the 1930s, the effects of the Recession was edged into the minds of children too. As Generation Z begins entering the professional job market, they take with them the anxiety of experiencing hard times.

“Times were bad but I did not understand it,” recalls Tyler Cox, a 20 year old from Philadelphia, “The Recession affected my perspective of college, knowing how much student debt I will take on does not prepare me if [the United States] falls into another recession.”

Cox’s family suffered during the Recession, while his father did not lose his job, the Cox family had adapted to being naturally resourceful and responsible. The Philadelphia native mentioned being nervous about financial stability post-college.

“My mom was really stressed out, but I did not fully know what was going on,” claims Benjamin Pierce, a 19 year old from Boston, “She had lost her high-ranking insurance job which sent family in a tailspin. I did not know it was the Recession that had caused this until years later.”

Pierce echoes Cox’s remarks of being confused. Confusion feeds into the concern of the future: it is a fear of the unknown. As children, Generation Z did not comprehend the events of the Recession but noticed its effects. This state of confusion has been carried with them, adding addition uncertainties to life after college.

Rosa Emory, a job coach at Marist College’s Career Services Center, was present in the office during the Recession. Emory explained that the finance majors were paranoid on campus, considering there was a deficit of finance jobs in New York.

“One trend that has continued since the Recession is the positive graduate school rate,” Emory elaborated, “To buy time before entering the job market; students attended graduate school to delay entering the work force.”

Career Services acknowledges that all students are nervous about making the switch from college to the real world therefore accepting the anxiety of Generation Z as common practice. However, in 2017, Forbes magazine wrote that Generation Z desires “a clear career path to success,” signaling a priority of financial stability.

Student loan debt, a wealth gap, and memories of a Recession are all real factors this fresh batch of workers are considering before they enter employment. If history is doomed to repeat itself, society now enters a new period of financial conservatism.

Lights, Camera… Marist!

Red Fox Films is the latest club to hit Marist College campus. The fresh club offers students a chance to pursue their ideas with a camera and a crew team lined up to help. This club has come a long way from thought to fruition, and Steve Ciravolo has been there every step of the way.

“The idea really sparked around October of 2017,” Ciravolo said when remembering how the film club got its start. “When I came to Marist, I joined Marist College Television (MCTV). The club did not exactly offer what I was looking for with camera work and ideas… it was a lot of in-studio productions.”

Ciravolo went on to describe the careful process the Student Government Association (SGA) implements to charter a club. The first step was a petition of 50 signatures from students who have interest in club. The executive board of the film club, including Blake Mackey, Emma Tizzano, Michael Perdios, and Joe Hernandez, quickly took note of the enthusiasm students had for an organization like this on campus when the petition was filled up in less than a week.

For a club to be established on campus, SGA mandates, very early in the process, a set of by-laws to ensure the club’s continuity after its establishers graduate. RFF’s by-laws were submitted in March of 2018. By May of 2018, a new student administration had taken control of SGA. The administration who had reviewed the club’s by-laws would not be the same administration to give the final approval of the club. Despite a change of administration and a summer between submission and approval, the Red Fox Films club was finally chartered in October of 2018.

The purpose of the club is to “provide a diverse network of creative students who want to make their own projects, such as, music videos, short films, sketches, packages, etc.” according to the club’s submission presentation.

For a student to produce their idea in the film club, they must submit a project application that includes details about crew members, equipment needed and shoot schedule. The project is reviewed by the executive board and an email is sent to the club’s members advising them of a new opportunity. Members sign up for the project, and the video goes into production.

In accordance with SGA’s aspirations for the film organization, club secretary Blake Mackey says, “My biggest hope [for RFF] is that it outlasts the current administration so that when we walk out the door, the club is still here and going.” Legacy and impact are the inevitable goals of all executive board members for Red Fox Films.

As noted by the club vice president, Emma Tizzano, the club’s greatest impact is the creative outlet it provides to students. Freelance work on campus is not supported by the college media center, the role of RFF is to provide an outlet to make visions into a reality for students outside of the media program. 

Ciravolo explains that the Marist media center restricts their equipment for students enrolled in media classes. Similar to a library, the RFF allows members to loan out cameras, sound, and lighting equipment regardless of what classes they take.

According to Ciravolo, “My hope is that the club includes members of all majors and fields of study, so that every student’s idea has a chance of being made into a masterpiece.”