In the middle of SustainIU Week, students fighting climate change found themselves wearing shorts in February because of the unusually high temperatures they are trying to prevent.
“It’s been a massive internal conflict,” said sophomore Stanley Njuguna, who helped organize the week’s events.
This year, SustainIU includes awareness efforts such as a series of lectures and a seedling giveaway.
Students had planned to wear beach clothes around campus to remind people that climate change happens all year long, but the weather did that for them.
Temperatures were 20 degrees above average all week, according to intellicast.com.
It was 64 degrees outside when Njuguna, 20, argued Tuesday against IU’s lack of climate change policy in the Whittenberger Auditorium.
IU’s sustainability numbers are much worse than many Big Ten rivals.
For the 2016 Game Day Recycling Challenge, IU sent about 80 percent of all football stadium waste to a landfill, while challenge winner Ohio State University’s rate was about 4 percent.
The abnormal weather helps make a point, but this week alone doesn’t prove climate change is real, Njuguna said.
He pointed to a February 2015 speech in which Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Oklahoma, tried to dispute climate change by bringing a snowball to the Senate. For Njuguna, neither extreme holds merit.
Instead, Njuguna works to educate the community on the long-term, smaller effects of climate change.
Senior Elli Bock is convinced the current weather can be used to see wider trends.
“How much more proof can you get that climate change is actually real?” Bock said.
During her sophomore year, Bock served as the sustainability chair of Sigma Delta Tau sorority.
In the position, she educated others about sustainable actions as simple as turning off the lights in empty rooms.
Freshman Casey Decaro said he wants to become more involved in sustainability efforts.
He attended Njuguna’s talk and also said he subscribes to an IU sustainability newsletter.
Although he has worn shorts and gone longboarding because of the warmth, he kept to long sleeves and jeans Tuesday because he knew those items are what he should be wearing this time of year, he said.
Even if humans were to develop a way to leave Earth for Mars, they shouldn’t have the option to leave the planet they ruined, he said.
“You can’t separate yourself from the Earth.”
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