Monday, April 4, 2016

Reducing Carbon Footprints, One Town at a Time

Amanda Nesheiwat, Secaucus Environmental Coordinator 

By Jonathan Sanzari

A recent speaker in the Environmental Writing class at Ramapo College of New Jersey was Amanda Nesheiwat, the environmental coordinator for the town of Secaucus, NJ. She has been making plans to alter programs in the town in order to reduce their carbon footprint.

One of the many accomplishments that Nesheiwat was responsible for was that she got the town to buy hybrid cars for the police department. Besides cutting down on gasoline fumes, she said, hybrids cost the town a lot less for gas than using a regular cop car, like a Dodge Charger.

She gave a presentation on the Climate Reality Project which was created by Al Gore. The presentation included charts of how the global temperature has been increasing decade by decade. The highest temperature recorded was in 2011 in multiple countries. The following year had the hottest month ever recorded which was July 2012. 

She mentioned how greenhouse gases come from melting permafrost, oil production, crop burning, forest burning, coal mining and coal plants. Greenhouse gases are extremely harmful to the atmosphere and have been contributing to increasing global disease outbreaks. For example, the recent Zika virus is now more widely prevalent due to the increasing warm weather. The global ocean temperature is also increasing due to the widespread carbon emissions. The ocean absorbs the carbon emissions and warmer water makes hurricanes to form faster and making them more destructive.

The permafrost melting will result in huge amounts of methane being released into the atmosphere. The presentation also covered how there are more frequent droughts in the Midwest and globally. Due to the more repeated droughts the weather has becoming increasingly more intense. Snowstorms, rain and flooding are occurring more often than usual.

According to Climate Central, “carbon dioxide is the most important long-lived global warming gas, and once it is emitted by burning fossil fuels such as coal and oil, a single CO2 molecule can remain in the atmosphere for hundreds of years.” The impact from humans polluting the atmosphere and environment has been substantial, creating a lingering problem that needs to be addressed. 

The presentation informed us that actions to address climate change have closed down roughly half of the oil refineries across the United States. But that doesn’t fix the atmosphere right away. We need immediate action in order to start restoring the planet’s atmosphere and to make the planet livable for future generations.

Nesheiwat, a Ramapo College grad, believes that the millennial generation will be known for creating their jobs. Her position didn’t exist in her town before she approached the mayor who eventually hired her full-time. It’s never too late for change and to get back on the right track towards a more progressive world.

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