The summer heat waves hitting the West Chester area have many wondering if they are experiencing the natural climate cycles of Earth or a bigger issue. Walking to class the first two weeks left many students breaking a sweat as soon as they stepped outside their door. In fact, West Chester has had a steady increase in 90 degree days during the summer months, and it does not look like that trend is going to stop anytime soon. From the years 1990 to 2000, West Chester has had an average of 15 days at or above 90 degrees according to a New York Times study. This past summer West Chester experienced 19 days above 90 degrees.
This might not sound like much of a difference, and may have the global warming critics ready to argue the changes count as nothing more than the Earth going through its natural climate cycle. The steady increase in 90 degree days in West Chester may sound like it is going up slowly, but by the year 2070 the number of 90 degree days is likely going to be over 30. A whole month of 90 degree heat does not sound comfortable for anyone not laying by the beach.
With the rise of global temperatures, most of the world has acknowledged climate change is a man-made issue which needs to be solved. The Paris Climate Accord includes 196 nations agreeing to cut greenhouse gasses emitted by human activity and for countries to help finance others to switch to renewable energy. This is all to keep global temperatures from rising even more. This pact was made on Dec. 12, 2015 with the United States originally apart of the agreement, but current President Trump withdrew from the Paris Climate Accord in the summer of 2017 in accordance with his America First policy. With the pressure from bus and the international community, the United States are negotiating new terms to be back in the agreement.
West Chester University has begun many initiatives to have the campus use more sustainable energy. In 2007, the university implemented a geothermal system to replace the coal fired steam plant, and now 50 pe cent of campus buildings are heated and cooled using geothermal energy. The campus also offers alternative transportation for students and faculty including Ride Share, Bike Share programs and easy access to public transportation. According to West Chester University’s Office of Sustainability, “As of 2010, approximately 25 percent of WCUs greenhouse gas emissions were associated with student, faculty, and staff commuting.” For more information on WCUs initiatives to protect the environment visit WCUs Office of Sustainability page.
Alex Fisher is a second-year student majoring in Media and Culture with a minor in Information technology. AF885855@wcupa.edu