The fifth annual Campus Sustainability Day was held Thursday in the USU theater and featured distinguished speakers and showed documentaries.
The first speaker was Milind Kulkarni, director of the Engineering Institutes of Mumbai, who presented a project that generates electricity from wastewater. He outlined the positives and negatives of his plan, and emphasized to the audience the importance of using “fewer products that will last longer.”
After the lecture was the screening of the award-winning documentary, “There Once Was an Island,” which follows a population of islanders in Papua New Guinea for more than two years as they experienced the effects of climate change first hand.
The documentary highlighted the alarming statistic that between 50 million and 200 million people could be displaced by rising sea levels by 2050.
The viewing ended with a discussion about the film. The audience was quizzed about statistics and facts from the documentary, and were rewarded small prizes, such as water bottles, for correct answers.
The main event of the day was still to come.
At 2 p.m., Naomi Oreskes, an author and UC San Diego history and science studies professor, lectured about her book “Merchants of Doubt,” which uncovers the truth on how major conservative scientists misled the public about global warming in order to promote “free market fundamentalism” ideals to encourage unrestricted government interference on private businesses.
During the lecture, Oreskes touched on the topics including: the link between smoking and cancer and the rejection of conservatives in the 1950s, the discovery of chemical aerosols (CFCs) in the 1960s, the threat to the Earth’s stratospheric ozone layer and the tobacco-related issue in the 1970s, and the resurgence of attacks on the EPA and the links between chemicals in the environment due to human behaviors and ecological health.
Oreskes addressed the climate change debate and said that scientists Fred Seitz, Fred Singer and Bill Nierenberg, along with powerful conservatives and private corporations, challenged and denied progressive studies on climate change and global warming.
She said Seitz’, Singer’s and Nierenberg’s influence on society is why the United States failed to act on global warming because of constant “false “ ideologies of the environment.
“In the past 20 years, Marsh Institute (conservative scientists) still claim that there is nothing we can do about it and people have no effects on global warming and that there is no global warming, despite an overwhelming amount of scientific evidence that has been published throughout history,” she said.