Everyone is responsible for reversing climate change

Gov. Rick Scott released his proposal on Nov. 23, for next year’s Everglades Restoration Plan, which totals $151 million — a $45 million increase from the current year’s budget. 

The plan involves strategies to jump-start projects to decrease pollution in the Indian River Lagoon and fight for Everglade restoration. Scott hopes to accumulate $5 billion over the next 20 years for the necessary re-establishment of the Everglades.

This proposal was released a day after the United Nations Paris Climate Change Conference, which involved a variety of world leaders discussing how best to tackle climate change. The negative impact humans have dished out on our planet is appalling. 

After beginning to see firsthand the effect we have played in the detriment of much of our environment, leaders began to seek a realistic and practical solution to recovering our stable environment.

“Never have the stakes of an international meeting been so high, since what is at stake is the future of the planet, the future of life,” said President Francois Hollande of France as he addressed the leaders in attendance. 

While President Barack Obama joins leaders across the globe to tackle large-scale projects, it is important for those at USF to remember the part they play in maintaining a sustainable Earth. 

Impressively, USF is one of a select number of universities nationwide that received a gold rating for having an environmentally conscious campus. The USF Physical Plant Recycling Program has recycled over 6,800 tons of paper alone since its initiation in 1990, according to its website. 

According to the 2013 Physical Plant statistics, USF had generated a total of 3,419 tons of waste and had recycled approximately 25 percent, or 872 tons of the waste. It also installed a variety of water bottle-filling stations across campus, 12 of which saved over 150,000 water bottles in the first month and a half after installation. 

Students can easily opt to carry a metal or glass water bottle and fill up with ease all day, for free. In the end, it will save consumers a vast amount of money, considering the average price of one bottle of water is $2.50. It’s no wonder the bottled water industry has yearly sales ranging between $50 billion and $100 billion worldwide, according to mnn.com.

Reducing your impact on the environment requires little effort and can ensure we have a livable tomorrow. Something as simple as students who live right across the street choosing to walk, bike or take the bus to campus instead of each choosing to drive could make an impact.

When you finish drinking that Starbucks latte, perhaps instead of tossing the cup in the garbage, you walk the extra three steps to a recycling bin. Grab a reusable water bottle, turn off the lights when you aren’t home and accept the fact that this is Florida — attempting to make your apartment the same temperature as Antarctica is entirely unrealistic. 

Society is finally deciding it’s time to take climate change seriously and as great as worldwide initiatives are, it’s the actions of every person that will determine the sustainability of tomorrow. Show you care and be sensitive of your environment. 


Breanne Williams is a junior majoring in mass communications.