Paris climate change summit


By Trent Ostrom

The “United Nations Conference on Climate Change” held in Paris, France focused on how countries can negotiate plans with each other to make more environmentally sound decisions and ultimately benefit the entire world.

Each year, progress is argued for at the conference between countries. New information is brought to the table about the environment and how we as humans can improve the world we live in. While government officials are currently looking at the world’s issues, there are plenty of everyday issues locally we as students can focus on.

In the Midwest it can sometimes seem like climate change isn’t an issue. This could be derived from a more conservative population and a generally high standard of living and environment quality. This ultimately leads to environmental progress sometimes making it here last. However, on campus you see you have the opportunity to recycle, to ride your bike to school and in the future, the University of Nebraska at Omaha will be a smoke-free campus.

Phoenix is the fifth largest city in the United States, and even with a high population, according to, every citizen has curbside recycling pickup.

While looking at what’s currently affecting the environment, the United Nations will be focusing on the emissions of greenhouse gas. Greenhouse gas ultimately affects the overall climate of the world can lead to potential consequences both for the climate and one’s health.

The climate change summit has been a yearly occurrence for more than 20 years. The New York Times editorial board says in an article progress at the summit every year has been almost non-existent.

“Many follow-up meetings have been held since then, with little to show for them. Emissions of greenhouse gases have steadily risen, as have atmospheric temperatures, while the consequences of unchecked warming — persistent droughts, melting glaciers and ice caps, dying corals, a slow but inexorable sea level rise — have become ever more pronounced,” the article said.

In the Midwest, we are a classic example of not always helping the problem, with gas emissions from factory farms that produce food. According to SustainableTable. com, organizations working on the agriculture process are no longer allowing an excessive amount of animals to be processed.

As for the progress this year the outcome is anyone’s guess. According to a Wall Street Journal article, different countries are still arguing over the language in the proposed new emissions restrictions.

“Negotiators released a draft of an agreement on Saturday showing they have been unable to resolve major policy disputes, mainly between developing and developed nations. Large portions of the text are still surrounded by brackets (meaning there is still disagreement),” the article stated.

In addition, they encourage consumers to shop locally, support the local economy and to “shop sustainable.”

So what can you do as a student to help the environment?

You can conserve water, avoid using energy that’s not needed, recycle and most importantly, don’t be wasteful. While the easy way to live life is with a “me” mentality, the only way the world’s climate can improve is if we have a “we” mentality.


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