Commentary: HEAT aims to fight Global Warming

Still think global warming is a myth? Think again. As the world becomes increasingly aware of this pressing issue, so does the interest and membership of Husky Energy Action Team (HEAT), a student group whose overall goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on campus. HEAT is part of Campus Climate Challenge, a project of more than 30 leading youth organizations throughout the U.S. and Canada, which leverages the power of young people to organize on college campuses and high schools across Canada and the U.S. to win 100 percent clean energy policies at their schools. The challenge has partners like Clean Air Cool Planet, Sierra Student Coalition and Greenpeace Student Network.

Last week, 20 members of HEAT attended the Climate Neutrality Summit at Middlebury College, where we talked with other universities in New England about projects they have completed to reduce emissions and share ideas about upcoming projects and events. The next summit, the Northeast Youth Climate Conference, will be held at Boston University, March 23-25, where Northeastern will team up with other student groups in the Boston area, through Climate Campaign, to host other universities in New England and neighboring regions.

This week, HEAT is participating in an International Week of Action, in which 575 universities across the U.S. and Canada are holding five days of educational events and demonstrations to jumpstart the second semester of the Campus Climate Challenge and put the heat on the new U.S. Congress and the returning Canadian Parliament to begin aggressive national power shifts on global warming. Tonight at 7 p.m. in 200 Richards Hall, HEAT, the Terra Society and the Student Government Association will host Professors Dan Douglass and Jennifer Cole in a presentation about “Climate – Science and Solutions.” Tomorrow night there will be a free screening of “An Inconvenient Truth,” followed by a moving documentary of Northeastern students talking about global warming in 200 Richards Hall at 7 p.m. Throughout the week, HEAT will hand out petitions for students and faculty to sign. These call for the administration to develop targets and specific steps to monitor and reduce the university’s greenhouse gas emissions eventually to zero. Other goals are to employ green building practices and obtain at least 50 percent of our electricity from renewable sources by 2012. We will also photograph Northeastern students for inclusion in a photo petition to be delivered to Congress Friday.

Over the weekend at Middlebury, a student made a statement that stuck with me: “It’s not called ‘college warming’ or ‘United States warming’ for a reason.” Global warming and the call for climate neutrality is the sole movement in history that has involved everyone and everything on our planet. Faliure to act now will lead to devastation throughout the world. It is up to us – the students, faculty, staff and administration here at Northeastern – to make a difference in our world and take a stand for carbon neutrality on our campus. After all, as our school’s motto says, “It’s the Northeastern difference.”

If you are interested in finding out more about HEAT, please contact me at [email protected] or come to our weekly meetings Monday at 8 p.m. in 435 Curry Student Center.

-Emily Rumberger is a sophomore mechanical engineering major and co-director of Husky Energy Action Team.

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