A recent study by the Pew Research Center shows that 67 percent of Americans believe the government isn’t doing enough to curb climate change.
According to the article, most people agree, “the federal government is doing too little to protect key aspects of the environment including water (60 percent) and air quality (64 percent).”
While this belief exists, the study states that Americans remain conflicted about how to resolve the climate issues.
Evan Hansen, a professor of physics at BYU-Idaho, said he believes people should learn more about climate change.
“I think as a general population, we don’t know enough,” Hansen said. “There are a lot of angles people need to be looking at climate change from.”
Hansen teaches a course on campus called Issues in Global Climate Change. It focuses on recognizing important characteristics of the Earth’s climate, examining options for addressing climate change and how to recognize the credibility of scientific information.
“When I compare stories my grandmother told me about Rexburg winters from her youth to what we see when we look at Rexburg now, it’s easy to tell that our climate was different several decades ago,” Hansen said. “When the things we’re doing now don’t affect our lives today, it’s hard to see what we’re doing to affect climate. But what we’re doing now will affect climate for the next 50 years.”
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a section on its website dedicated to environmental conservation.
“All are stewards — not owners — over this earth and its bounty and will be accountable before God for what they do with His creations,” the Church states. “All humankind should gratefully use what God has given, avoid wasting life and resources, and use the bounty of the earth to care for the poor and the needy.”
The website also explains how the Church works to be environmentally friendly in its operations. It practices recycling, water conservation, green building designs and more.
“Climate change is unfolding right before our eyes,” said Oska Ang’ila, a senior who took Hansen’s course and is studying political science. “I became more aware of the far-reaching effects of climate change (after taking the course). An urgency to act was awakened in me.”
Ang’ila said he tries to conserve energy by only using what is essential at home.
Hansen doesn’t currently know any programs or initiatives on campus to help fight climate change but encourages students to learn to do things to help.
“As an individual, you feel like you don’t make a difference,” Hansen said. “But I believe individuals are what make differences.”