IA Reflection #5

On March 6th, 2019, I attended the second part of the Climate Change and Environmental Issues panel. This event was held at Hagerty Hall from 6:30 pm to 8 pm. The event consisted of a panel of three speakers, each presenting on research or organizations related to issues of Climate Change and the environment. After each of the speakers presented there set time for questions from the event host and from the audience.

The presentations themselves mostly consisted of efforts being taken in Columbus and the campus area and of research regarding the environment and how climate change in Ohio. However, just as I argued in my last reflection, the very nature of Environmental issues is that there are international issues. Changes in the climate in what part of the globe can drastically affect the rest of the world and solutions to climate change, while often come from local sources, must also be addressed at the international level. For example, the initiative to get Columbus to 100% carbon neutrality that the speaker from the Sierra Club discussed is part of a larger national movement that would have global effects. Overall, the issues surrounding climate change are some of the most pressing issues, international and domestic, of our generation.

I would say that what I personally gained from this event was a greater understanding of what people in the Columbus area were doing to address climate change. This event reaffirmed for me that despite an inactive federal government regarding environmental issues, climate change policy is still progressing at the municipal levels. Overall, this event did instill a degree of optimism that other climate change presentation I have seen haven’t.

Where this class intersects most with my class material was in the Sierra club initiative. In my City Planning classes, a major point is that cities can play an important role in addressing climate change. The concentration of population and smaller scale than the national level allows city to have a great deal of influence regarding sustainable policy making, and especially when acting in conjunction with other cities. In the planning field, sustainability policy has become an increasingly important area of study as more cities want to address these types of issues, like carbon neutrality. The project that the speaker from the Sierra Club discussed is a perfect example of how environmental planning works on a city level.

If I had the chance to ask the speakers a question, I would have asked how much of a role the local government, specifically planners, could play in climate change policy. For example in the case of the initiatives taken by the University, how much could the Columbus government either aid or learn from what the University is doing to address climate change?