Point of View
How concerned are you about climate change?
BERKELEY – As climate change and energy policy move to center stage, we wondered whether the group of people most likely to inhabit a warmer Earth were thinking much about it.
As always, taking the pulse of UC Berkeley students proved eye-opening for many reasons. Five of the seven students who said that climate change was not high on their list of worries were unwilling to say so on the record. In response to those who consider it a real problem, we followed up by asking what — if anything — they thought should be done about it.
|'I've been concerned about it
since eighth grade, which is when we moved out
of our solar-powered home because my mom wanted
a bigger place. I think about it a lot because
of Al Gore's movie, all the shows on the Discovery
Channel, and things I read. We can start with
the small things, like changing our lightbulbs,
composting, recycling, and walking more often
instead of driving.'
—Caroline Lea, third-year rhetoric major. Hometown: Denver, CO
|'Not really. I think it's one
of those overhyped things. I've actually taken
a course about environmental changes in general,
and back in the '80s the media was predicting
world famine by the year 2000. Even if global
warming were happening, is it a good or a bad
thing? Maybe it's just part of the cycle, like
the Ice Age.'
—Patrick Tam, third-year microbial biology major. Hometown: San Jose, CA
|'At this point climate change is definitely something we should be looking at. The governor's decision to look at alternative energy sources is a giant step toward making sure that global warming has less of an impact than it could have. I think making alternative energy a bigger part of society in general would go a long way toward making sure global warming doesn't get worse.'
—Krystle Henriquez, fourth-year social welfare major. Hometown: Sacramento, CA
|'Yes. The evidence shows it's already a problem, and it only seems like it will get worse in the near future. We should be trying to find more efficient ways to burn fuels, and find alternate sources of energy.'
—Michael Bergman, third-year civil engineering major. Hometown: Napa, CA
|'Well, I think it's an issue,
but I'm not really concerned about it. I don't
have enough information — I haven't done enough
research personally. I just
know what the media says and I don't feel comfortable
forming an opinion just based on that. It does
seem to be a trend, but there have been lots
of trends over millions of years. I'm not convinced
it's happening because of what we're doing, or
if it's just a global trend.'
—Jackie Dailey, first-year chemistry major. Hometown: Yuba City, CA
|'Well, I just watched "An Inconvenient Truth" and I thought it was pretty powerful and moving. There are some dramatic effects: the changes in the eastern winters, the hurricanes. I think there should be a lot more awareness about global warming. What can we do about it? Well, having the whole world, all the major nation's getting involved would be a start. I'm concerned about industrializing nations that are building factories, and those with growing populations that are buying more cars.'
—Davis Tang, second-year molecular and cell biology major. Hometown: Milpitas, CA
|'Yes, but I'm worried that there's nothing we can really do about it, that it's too late to change. We're seeing the results already, and it's happening so fast.'
—Kira Takeshita, fourth-year film studies major. Hometown: Alameda, CA
|'Yes I am, because of the drastic
changes going on. I work at the Elmwood theater,
where the movie "Happy Feet" is showing, and
everyone's saying, "What's with all the penguin
it's about the melting ice sheets, the loss of
habitation, but that's just the tip of the iceberg,
so to speak. Although we've got to think globally
and act locally, I'm afraid it might be too late
to initiate any massive change. As individuals,
all we can do is tread lightly around the environment,
and be mindful of the effects of our daily activities.
On a bigger scale, I heard David Suzuki [the
Canadian biologist and environmental activist]
speak about how the dichotomy between business
and environment is a false one, and that business
needs to include the environment in its calculations.
The world is a web — our actions are not isolated.
What we do in the U.S. affects the rest of the
—Arron Pawlowicz, fourth-year rhetoric major. Hometown: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada