Temple University Leads Conversation About Sustainability Locally and Globally

Climate change is no longer a forecast for the future. It is quickly approaching and in many places of the world, it is already here. According to the City of Philadelphia, an increase in temperatures and precipitation are the biggest impacts that Philly will see in the coming years from climate change. In response to the economic, political, and social pressure mounting due to climate change, Temple University’s Office of Sustainability and International Student Affairs paired to discuss the issue. 

The webinar consisted of a four-student panel moderated by the Director of Sustainability, Rebecca Collins, and the Director of International Student Affairs, Leah Hetzell. It included students from various countries such as India, China, and Mexico. 

Collins has an astounding career working with urban sustainability and began the conversation by putting her twist on a Bill Nye quote, “The best way for us to address climate change is to continue talking about climate change.” This is exactly what Temple is looking to do. With webinars like this one, talking about climate change is addressing the issues at hand. 

Graduate student Moumita Paladhi from New Dehli, India spoke about the country’s air pollution and how “transportation accounts for one-third of air pollution in India.” She discussed that India, specifically New Dehli, has been prioritizing reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Air pollution serves as a constant reminder of human impacts on the environment. Dehli has instituted policies that allow certain car owners to drive on certain days based on their license plate to reduce emissions. 

Paladhi asserted that “this helped people realize there needed to be a change.” This has inspired her, she added, and others in the area to carpool. 

During the panel, communication and social influence major, Fernando Gaxiola from Mexico, was asked how climate change is viewed in the mainstream media in Mexico. He replied that in Mexico, the mainstream media is not discussing climate change with frequency and urgency like in the United States. 

Gaxiola also suggested solutions to change the dialogue in Mexico. He added that Mexico takes a lot of cues from the U.S. and that acting more sustainably in America will make a large impact internationally. 

Pivoting towards Philadelphia, Gaxiola commented that “Philly feels a responsibility to do better.” 

I hope that is true. On the global stage, Philadelphia is pioneering, adapting, and innovating in response to climate change. Between Philly’s high-class universities and climate initiatives, change will happen here.

Article written by Sydney Badman on behalf of Global Philadelphia Association