An iconic Colorado sunset contrasted with polluting vehicles in Colorado Springs. Photo taken by Sasha Kandrach.
Colorado is notorious for crazy, unpredictable weather impairing the ability to accurately assess what weather patterns are, “normal.” Nonetheless, Colorado, is not removed from the drastic effects of global warming. In recent years Colorado has seen an increase in temperature averages coinciding with a decrease in annual precipitation according to Global Warming Denver.
Global warming is a topic that is pitched across political debates, appears in scientific discoveries and has even made its own cinema debut – minimizing the severity and significance of the prominent issue at time. Throughout global warming’s status among cultures, the debate remains whether or not global warming is part of the Earth’s natural warming and cooling state or if human influence is worsening conditions. Students at the University of Denver were asked to share their perspectives on the broad topic and vocalize whether this issue is worth pursuing or ignoring.
Stephanie Deines is a first-year Biology major from Colorado Springs, Colorado. When questioned regarding her thoughts on global warming, she emphasized the acknowledgement that global warming is a prominent issue and believes is, “heavily influenced by humans.”
Deines recalls exorbitant winters throughout her childhood spent at the ski resort that her family frequents. “There were some winters where the snowfall was crazy, it was hard to maintain the ski resort at times. There were other times where the snowfall was limited and we had to make artificial snow to substitute for the noticeable lack of snow and hotter temperatures.”
Deines continues on to comment about the recent, bizarre weather even for a typically random state like Colorado, “We had that crazy snow storm where it was just snowing for two days straight. Two days before that it was 70 degrees and I was wearing a tank top, then I was stuck in my dorm for the weekend. To me, that’s not normal, even for a place like Colorado.”
Deines additionally reminisce’s on similar odd occurrences, of recollections that took place during the summers. “The water levels at the lakes by my house [near Cheyenne Mountain] have decreased over the years. They don’t rise the same way they did twenty years ago, so I’ve been told,” says Deines. “My parents are both from Colorado and they’re always commenting on how much hotter it is throughout the year. I definitely think that’s influenced by people and how we deplete natural resources so quickly.”
Kevin Blunt a sophomore Hospitality major from San Diego, California provides differing insight on the global warming topic.
Angie Thomson, a Socio-Legal Studies and Biogeography double major with a minor in sustainability, shared her insight and knowledge on the subject matter. “Do I believe climate change is caused by humans or is anthropogenic? Absolutely, you’re talking to a sustainability minor.”
Thomson continued on to remark on the changes she’s even noticed within her lifetime, “Growing up in Denver, you can even see the effects of this happening within my lifetime. I remember when I was younger, I have seen winters decrease in terms of precipitation and in terms of severity. I have seen ice on lakes not stay as stable for as long. I know there is
something funny going on with the Chinook winds in Boulder, but I know very little about that.”
As far as a solution going forward she says,“A lot of what we have already done is irreversible. A lot of it will be damage control, to prevent the world from getting to a point at which the world warms to about three degrees celsius. In that case, all hell will break loose.”
Specifically, what Thomson is referring to is, “the tipping point” or, “the three degrees of warming,” both of which are references to the speculated temperature in which the Earth would truly and scarily, jeopardize the ability to sustain life.
Recently on April 22, the United Nations (UN) has taken action in attempts to hinder the progression of global warming as it is now,”affecting every country on every content.” According to the Washington Post, 175 countries signed the Paris Agreement on climate change to reduce greenhouse gas emissions which will be enforced in 2020.
Blunt’s recommendations on preserving the Earth’s natural resources and preventing further damage is addressing, “the problem at hand [which] is the pollution of our atmosphere and destruction of the ozone layer. In effort to mitigate the damage, we need to continue and expand our efforts to minimize pollutants emitted by industry and households worldwide. We also need to continue to promote research and innovation leading to alternative, renewable sources of energy. Once that happens, we must find ways to make renewable resources affordable and the economical substitute in comparison to today’s high-pollution options.”