Time to reinvest in higher education
Education is arguably the basis of a stable and productive society. From the philosophy of the Greeks to the writing of the Declaration of Independence to current public policy, education and knowledge have guided humankind. We are taught from childhood to value education as a tool for improving ourselves and the world, yet students today struggle more than ever not only to receive an education but also to pay for it.
Between 2000 and 2009, tuition rates nationwide rose 63 percent while undergraduate earnings declined by 15 percent; this was before the "Great Recession" hit. With more student debt than credit-card debt nationwide, how can we expect our youths to participate in the education system, to contribute to society and to become the next generation of leaders when they have no means to pay for their education "fees"?
This nation demands education for living-wage jobs and yet education cannot be paid off with a living wage. This is my generation's great Catch-22, our ever-looming crisis. As a student of SOU I implore the public to entreat their representatives to re-invest in higher education for this nation's future: financially, ethically and for its integrity.
Let the scales fall from our eyes
Almost all (97 percent) of the scientific community agrees, on the basis of data and evidence, that our earth is warming. They further agree that humans are contributing to this warming. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stated these conclusions in 2007, seven years ago, and in 2013 restated these conclusions more powerfully.
A handful of scientists still question the role of human activity in causing the warming effect. However, the fact of global warming is not in question even by this small minority of scientists.
My window looks out on Mount Ashland. Seven years ago the snowcap lasted until mid-August. Each year it has vanished earlier. This year will it last until June?
Our planet is warming. The projected consequences have in some instances become new facts adding weight to old projections of consequences. New facts, such as the rapidity of the vanishing of Arctic ice, acidification of the oceans with collapse of the fisheries, dwindling snow pack, and the loss of many important species of Oregon's trees are unanticipated consequences of the planetary tragedy unfolding before our eyes.
It is time to let the scales fall from our eyes, time to educate ourselves, time to accept our power as citizens to influence what is happening. We cannot afford the luxury of despair. We are being challenged at both personal and political levels.
This is a new Pearl Harbor calling for full participation of our citizenry. Let's wake up! Visit www.socan.info (Southern Oregon Climate Action Now).
Most accept climate change
The media frequently imply that a substantial proportion of Americans rejects science, particularly climate science. While some individuals think the basic laws of gravity, physics and chemistry are opinions that can be repealed by legislative act, these are minority views.
A 2013 study revealed that two-thirds of Americans accept global warming is happening. Among this group, a much higher proportion is convinced they are correct than is the case among those doubting the science. Fully 75 percent also correctly think that most scientists accept the science of climate change.
Although 97 percent of climate scientists acknowledge the human contribution, only 50 percent of Americans accept that the warming pattern is caused mostly by human activities.
These data deny widespread doubt about climate science. However, though everyday news and evidence are clear, only about 40 percent think climate change is affecting Americans or other peoples currently. Considering the widespread reports of heat waves, floods, wildfires, and dwindling snowpack, and the billions of dollars weather disasters have cost us, this lack of understanding is alarming.
The campaign by fossil fuel corporations and corporate leaders to sow doubt about science while appealing to fear and ignorance is frighteningly successful. We must overcome it.