Monday, Jul 28, 2014 02:26 pm est

Movie explores climate change

Posted on April 17, 2014 | by Claire Scimeca

Felipe De La Hoz/WSN

In the latest effort to inform the NYU community about the effects of climate change, student activists hosted a screening of “Do the Math,” a film about social movements to protect the environment.

NYU Divest, Earth Matters and the Graduate School of Arts and Science Student Government organized the event, which took place at the Kimmel Center for University Life on April 16.

The movie highlights environmentalist Bill McKibben’s crusade against the use of fossil fuels, which he cites as a leading cause of climate change. He focuses on three numbers based on comprehensive, scientific studies while he dissects the math involved in climate change.

The first is two, or the number of degrees Celsius that Earth can warm without significantly disturbing life as we know it.

The second is 565, or the number of gigatons — billions of tons — of carbon dioxide people can emit into the atmosphere before global warming will surpass that two degrees.

The third is 2,765, the number of gigatons of carbon currently in the reserves of the fossil fuel industry. This number means that these companies already have more than four times the carbon resources necessary to alter the planet irreversibly.

McKibben started a project called 350.org which has organized massive protest efforts around the world to fight against the fossil fuel industry and for cleaner, renewable sources of energy. His project is named after the amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide in parts per million scientists have concluded the planet can withstand. Today, however, levels are at 395 ppm.

In a similar vein as 350.org, NYU Divest hopes to eliminate the school’s investments in fossil fuels. Gallatin junior Sophie Lasoff said divestment has worked in past social movements.

“As we saw with the South African apartheid movement in the ’60s, it took many years to make divestment a reality at these schools, but once the big names started falling off, it was like a domino effect,” Lasoff said.

On Monday, at NYU President John Sexton’s town hall meeting, NYU Divest revealed its divestment petition filled with more than 1,400 signatures, which helped convince Sexton to meet with the group.

NYU Divest member and CAS junior Josh White said NYU has an obligation to stop financially supporting the fossil fuel industry and protect the environment.

“NYU is a leader in sustainability, as indicated by its recent 30 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions,” White said. “However, its investments in the fossil fuel companies that cause climate change are hypocritical and contradictory to these efforts.”

NYU Divest is working to gather support from various facets of the NYU community, including student organizations and faculty.

Sumit Gupta from the GSAS student government said he feels that NYU Divest’s spreading of information about environmental issues is important.

“The kind of work they are doing is something people should be aware about,” Gupta said. “It’s about making people more aware and more knowledgeable so that if they have an opinion, they state it rather than just not doing anything about it at all.”

A version of this article appeared in the Thursday, April 17 print edition. Claire Scimeca is a staff writer. Email her at news@nyunews.com. 

Comments

CLOSE [x]
CLOSE [x]
CLOSE [x]
profile portrait
Felipe De La Hoz

Multimedia Editor | Felipe De La Hoz is a Colombian national studying journalism at the College of Arts and Sciences. Having been born in Colombia and raised in the United States, Mexico and Brazil, Felipe is a trilingual travel aficionado and enjoys working in varied and difficult environments. Apart from his photography, Felipe enjoys investigative reporting and interviews, interviewing the likes of Colombian ex-M-19 guerrilla fighters and controversial politician Jimmy McMillan. He has covered everything from governmental conferences to full-blown riots, as well as portraiture shoots and dining photography. Having worked under Brazilian photojournalists for Reuters and AFP, Felipe hopes to one day work on demanding journalistic projects and contribute to the global news cycle.

AS
Ann Schmidt

News Editor | Ann is a liberal studies sophomore who lived in Florence during her freshman year. She plans on double-majoring in journalism and political science and is always busy. She is constantly making lists and she loves to laugh.

 

DY
Daniel Yeom

Daniel started at the Features desk of WSN last Spring, writing restaurant reviews whilst indulging on free food and consequently getting fat. Last Fall, he was the dining editor, and he this semester he is senior editor. Daniel is in Gallatin (living the dream) studying Food & Travel Narratives, incorporating aspects of Food Studies, Journalism, and Media, Culture, and Communication. He loves food more than life itself.

Hannah Luu

Deputy Multimedia Editor | Hannah Luu is a ridiculously great Deputy Multimedia Editor. She is a sophomore from Northern California. If you think Northern California means San Francisco you might need to closely examine a map. She is passionate about NPR and being half Asian.

CLOSE [x]
  • How to join:

    The Washington Square News holds open weekly budget meetings at its office located at 838 Broadway every Sunday. All are welcome to attend, no matter your background in journalism, writing, or reporting. Specific times for meetings by desk are listed below. If you wish to talk to an editor before you attend, feel free to check out the Staff page.

    NEWS FEATURES MULTIMEDIA SPORTS ARTS OPINION
    5 P.M. 6 P.M. 6 P.M. 6:30 P.M. 6:30 P.M. 7 P.M.

    Applying for an editor position: Applications for editor positions during the fall or spring semesters are available twice each academic year and can be found here when posted. Applications for the Fall 2012 semester are closed, but check back for Spring 2013. Those who wish to apply are urged to publish pieces in the newspaper and contact current editors for shadowing.

    History of the Washington Square News:

    The Washington Square News is the official daily student newspaper of New York University and serves the NYU, Greenwich Village, and East Village communities. Founded as an independent newspaper in 1973, the WSN allows its undergraduate writers and photographers to cover campus and city news and continues to grow its strong body of award-winning journalists and photographers.

  • The WSN has a circulation of about 60,000 and can be found in over a hundred purple bins distributed throughout campus. It is published Monday through Thursday during the fall and spring semesters and online on Friday, with additional special issues published in the summer. The newspaper recently revamped its website during the Fall 2012 semester.

    Like few campus newspapers in the country, the paper is editorially and financially independent from the university and is solely responsible for selling advertisements to fund its production. The WSN, including its senior staff, is run solely by current undergraduate students and the business-division is largely student-operated as well.

    A Board of Directors comprised of alumni, NYU professors and working news media professionals serves as advisors to the paper. Board members have no control in the WSN's editorial policy or newsroom operations. Alumni of the newspaper are established and leading journalists in such news organizations as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NBC news, ABC news, Fox News, and USA Today.

    Next