The Daily Illini

Increase environmental awareness on campus

By Chantelle Hicks, Columnist

In light of a recent report released by the United Nations, the Earth is dying and we need to start saving it — like yesterday. The United States and England are a few of the countries who debate climate change and the effects we are seeing; thus, as American college students, we must take the necessary steps to ensure our planet is saved. If you’re thinking this isn’t important, here’s why you should care.

According to the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), we have about 12 years to fix the damage we’ve made before it’s too late. Quite alarming isn’t it? But this isn’t “new news;” however, recently the topic of climate change has been forced to take a back seat on all major media platforms.

Did you know that for as many hurricanes as there were in 2017, not one major news platform mentioned that they’re linked to climate change?  

You may be thinking, “Well it is implied that the cause of these natural disasters is due to climate change,” — but that isn’t so clear. Each year climate change gets worse so, naturally, you would assume the media would provide proportionally increasing coverage on this topic, right? Wrong. Each year climate change coverage decreases. As was the case in 2015, “ABC aired the least amount of climate coverage in 2016, covering the topic for just six minutes, about seven minutes less than in 2015. All the other major networks also significantly reduced their coverage from the previous year, with NBC showing the biggest decrease (from 50 minutes in 2015 to 10 minutes in 2016), followed by Fox (39 minutes in 2015 to seven minutes in 2016) and CBS (from 45 minutes in 2015 to 27 minutes in 2016).”

So, what is the cause of this major decrease in coverage? Political agenda plays a major role in the coverage of climate change. Politicians in the United States underestimate the role humans have in causing climate change. But every small thing we do can make a difference. Cut back on shower time, recycle and reduce the amount of electricity you use. Starting with these changes and moving to hundreds more can go a long way in repairing our planet.

On our campus, we have programs that help to lower use of electricity. For example, the Illini Lights Out program happens every Friday. Students go around campus and turn off lights to help lower the consumption of electricity on campus in classroom buildings. It only takes an hour out of the day and it helps keep the Earth around a little bit longer. It can even be as simple as the next time you use scratch paper, plastic cups or order a package from Amazon, don’t be afraid to recycle. All campus residence halls have recycling bins in both personal rooms, common rooms, as well as hundreds more across campus. Utilizing these resources as much as possible helps lower our waste and create a cleaner planet.

If you think these small shifts are too incremental to help our planet, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Let’s change the way we treat Earth before it’s too late.

Chantelle is a sophomore in Media.

[email protected]

Leave a Comment
The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871