OPINION: Working towards a cleaner planet on campus

Kalyn Johnson is a columnist for the College Heights Herald. 

Kalyn Johnson


While global warming doesn’t seem to be a detrimental issue, the entire planet must think again.

According to NASA, the global temperature has risen 1.7 degrees Fahrenheit since 1880. While this seems like something that can be ignored, it is not.

The main culprit behind global warming is human activity. Think about the number of times we use an item that requires us to put carbon into the air which in turn causes the greenhouse effect. This effect is caused by people using an excess amount of carbon, volcanos erupting and deforestation. NASA calls carbon dioxide a minor component to the earth’s atmosphere, yet it is “the most important long-lived forcing of climate change.”

During my time at North Carolina State University, I saw firsthand how this institution is lowering their school’s carbon footprint one step at a time. The most striking way this was done was through construction of their new Hunt Library. This library was built with sustainability in mind, earning this building a silver environmental rating by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. NCSU fitted the library with large windows to allow the flow of natural lighting and is, noticeably, shaded on the outside by solar fins. In addition, the institution states the library is “cooled and heated by innovative chilled beam and radiant panel systems and its water is warmed with rooftop solar panels.” The institution also installed “The bookBot” which has provided a 40 percent reduction in the building’s carbon footprint per square foot.

The school has also made environmental strides in its transportation system. While NCSU does have their own bus route, what sets their system apart is that almost every bus stop is fitted with a solar panel to power the lights when it gets dark. The energy from the solar panels also powers the charging ports within the bus stop stations.

WKU has also taken necessary steps to make the Earth a better place. The university received its silver status from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education back in 2012. Not only does WKU use organic fertilizer to keep our campus beautiful, it also has a program that students can enroll in called the Green Squirrel of Approval program to help everyone become more sustainable and cognizant of the energy we’re using. Even with these advances, we still have work to do.

I’m not saying WKU is behind in innovative ideas in helping our planet become cleaner. I’m saying we’re all behind. Reduce your carbon footprint by turning off the light, walking to class if you live just down the street, recycle your goods every chance you get and maybe even earn your Green Squirrel of Approval.