From Paris to Pittsburgh: Combating climate change

Dina Krijestorac

Contributing writer

On Jan. 29, the Social Science Student Club hosted a screening of the documentary “From Paris to Pittsburgh,” followed by a live discussion with Samantha Danuchuk, Ph.D., the Assistant Director of the Broward County Environmental Planning and Community Resilience Division, and Broward County Commissioner Beam Furr, the Co-chair of the County Climate Change Task Force.

The documentary film recognizes the efforts of local governments and average citizens in combating the effects of climate change in their communities.

Commissioner Furr addressed the audience before the screening and briefly spoke about the issue and noted that Broward County is one of the leading counties in the nation in innovative ways to address the worst effects of climate change locally and how it was really good that the documentary was highlighting local efforts in combating climate change.

After the screening, Dr. Danchuk, was able to inform the audience that in Broward County, every person emits an average of 13 tons of greenhouse gases and encouraged audience members to get their emission down to 1 ½ ton while emphasizing that the struggle to mitigate problems of climate change is to reduce consumption.

“It is not just about switching to renewable energy, but reducing our energy use overall,” Dr. Danchuk said.

When prompted by a question, Commissioner Furr presented the diverse ways that Broward County residents can help combat the effects of climate change on a local level.

One opportunity residents now have available through the County is the “Solar Now Program,” a voluntary monthly plan that adds $9 to your electricity bill to help offset energy use by increasing solar infrastructure locally to help reduce electricity costs in the long run.

Commissioner Furr also urged all to look at the Broward County Climate Change Action Plan, which is designed by Dr. Danchuk and staff, to help everyone get a better idea of how the county is dealing with all the issues posed by climate change.

The plan is available online at http://browardmpo.org/images/WhatWeDo/BrowardCAPReport2015.pdf

Among some 80 people in attendance was also Tom O’Hara, the project editor of the newsletter “The Invading Sea,” which is a media collaboration between Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties that calls attention to the issues brought forth by climate change who said that he was happy to see that Broward College students are interested in this important issue.

O’Hara also encouraged and motivated students in the audience to become more informed on the issue of climate change and sea-level rise and to spread the awareness about it through their social circles and media.

All of these steps can be done on an individual level and would help immensely with the efforts against the negative effects of global warming because as claimed in the documentary, “climate change is not coming, it is already here.”

All participants, however, stressed that we should not feel overwhelmed by it, rather feel that it is time for action.

“In the face of all this adversity, we want people to be hopeful and think that we can tackle this if we join our efforts,” Commissioner Furr said.

The Social Science Club student coordinator for the event, Brenda Jeudy said, “lots of young people like myself are constantly seeing news about climate change and how its effects are here, but it was great to actually see visuals and statistics to understand how much climate change is going to affect our lives. The event was an eye-opener, from both the planning and educational perspective.” 

“Paris to Pittsburgh” is produced by the Academy Award production company RadicalMedia, in partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies, and the free screening in the North Campus Library auditorium was open to students and the public.

The Social Science Club is also planning two more events on the topic of climate change, one of which being the Environmental Justice Fair and Symposium on Feb. 27.

In March, they are also organizing a discussion about the Green New Deal with Congresswomen Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, who is coming from Washington D.C. to North Campus to talk to students about it.

The Social Science Club Instagram can be followed at @sscbcnorth.

krijd@mail.broward.edu

science

Left: Samantha Danchuk, Assistant Director of Broward County Environmental Planning, and Broward County Commissioner Beam Furr, right, discuss climate change and the documentary film “From Paris to Pittsburgh.” / Photos courtesy of Nazli Amirghasemi

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