The Scoop on Sustainability: Take back your future
Published: Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 15:02
This is about you. This is about your friends, your family, your hometown. This is about the children you may hope to have, and the life you envision for them. This is about your future. Our future.
Ninety-seven percent of scientists across the globe agree that our future is not looking great. Our future is not filled with the endless possibilities that our parents enjoyed. Our future will not include those perfect New England winter mornings and snowball fights. It will not include that epic trip to the Arctic Circle to stand in awe of the glaciers. It will not include people asking you to save the polar bears – they will be long gone and forgotten with millions of other species.
Our future will include civil and corporate wars fought over the last of our fresh water while hundreds of millions of people from poor nations die from famine and disease. Our future will include the downfall of national and global economy, as we lose $1.2 trillion a year because the corporations that run our government have failed to clean up the gigantic mess they have made and continue to look only to next quarter’s profits and margins.
But we will live on, blindly consuming, accepting inflated gas prices, adopting the flawed logic of self-righteous pundits as our own – oblivious to our ignorance. We will live on, miserable in the year round warmth, frustrated that nobody seems to notice the death of the planet’s oldest cultures, or care about the 200 species going extinct every day, a mass extinction that this planet has not seen since the disappearance of the dinosaurs. We will die regretting that we did nothing to stop the destruction of the only planet we have.
Unless you’re the one that cares. Unless you’re the one that wakes up to reality. Unless you’re the one that does something. Not your one hippie friend, not your natural resources professor. You. You must act. And if not for wildlife and plant diversity, if not for the billions of underprivileged, displaced, terrified people, do something for you. Do something out of complete selfishness – your own long-term survival and happiness. It will be the most important thing you have and will ever do. Our generation needs to be the one to save the world, and the world will follow in our footsteps.
Here at UNH, you have the opportunity to be part of a global movement to have our voices heard for the first time since the 1970s, and to take back the future that our generation deserves. Our university’s president, Mark Huddleston, recently said, “Sustainability is integral to everything we do at UNH ... and it is crucial that climate change remain a focus of our work as a nation.” And yet, a substantial part of our $125 million endowment is currently invested in fossil fuel corporations that are destroying our planet, our communities, and our future.
Since committing to the President’s Climate Commitment, our university has made strides toward being a more sustainable university, but it is hypocritical of the institution for its investments not to reflect this commitment. UNH can be a leader in true sustainability that is not only reflected in its programs and ‘green’ initiatives, but also in its investments. With students at 50 other schools across the nation, from New England to California, simultaneously launching this campaign on their campuses, UNH has the opportunity to be the first university to divest and show that we are pioneering a transition to a sustainable economy.
Nearly 1,000 UNH students have already signed a petition to Divest for Our Future, a campaign in which the student body, faculty and alumni are asking the UNH Foundation to be an innovator in a national and global movement to divest from fossil fuel companies.
This is your future, and only you have the power to change it, so write a letter today to President Huddleston in support of UNH divestment from fossil fuels, and send it to, “President Huddleston, Office of the President, Thompson Hall, 105 Main Street” through the free on-campus mailbox in the MUB.
Fiona Gettinger is a sophomore at UNH and president of the on-campus chapter of SEAC. You can contact SEAC at email@example.com or by stopping by their office in MUB 139.