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Students gather for sustainability symposium

Climate change is the biggest problem that humanity has ever faced, but the future of the fight against climate change is more promising than it has ever been, according to a climate change advocate who spoke at the Sustainability Student Leadership Symposium on Sunday. Ryan Hagen, founder of Crowdsourcing Sustainability, said that we need a “world war-like mobilization to fight climate change.”

“We have the tools, we know what we need to do, we just have to make it happen,” said Hagen. “There are a few people in power who are trying to keep things the way they are, but if we can tap into the power of the people, we completely outnumber them, and we can really get things done.”

It’s important that we understand the reality of our situation so that we can approach it the way that we need to, according to Hager. The Paris Agreement says that we should not increase the temperature of the earth more than two degrees Celsius, but temperatures have already risen by one degree Celsius.

“The best way to think about it is not that two degrees is game over,” said Hager. “The whole thing is a spectrum. The less warming we allow, the better it’s going to be; the better our lives and our children’s lives are going to be.”

To limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, greenhouse gas emissions would need to be cut in half by 2030 and net zero by 2050, five times the amount set by the Paris Agreement. To limit warming to two degrees Celsius, there would need to be a reduction in emissions by 25 percent by 2030 and net zero by 2070, three times the amount set by the Paris Agreement.

“Climate change and our response to it is going to change the world over the next 25 years as much as the internet did in the last 25 years,” said Joe Romm, physicist and climate expert.

Hager cites organizations and movements like Sunrise, Extinction Rebellion and School Strike for Climate as being key forces that are pushing change. He also said that larger pushes for changes include the bipartisan carbon pricing bills and the Green New Deal.

“Momentum is building and change is in the air,” said Hager. “I don’t think there’s ever been a time where there’s been more hope despite how grim the situation looks, and that is because there are organizations and movements that have all come around in the past year or two.”

The Crowdsourcing Sustainability community was created to collect information and ideas from people around the world to help eliminate greenhouse gases as soon as possible, according to Hagen.

The company’s conception was based on the premise that there is a need to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions, people everywhere are increasingly ready to help and that the amount of people that are going to have access to the platform is enormous. By 2025, nearly the entire the world will be online for the first time together, according to Hager, and he believes that this is key for mobilization.

“I’m building an army of climate champions and getting people to act more and be more informed,” said Hager.

After speaking with a variety of climate experts including Bill McKibben, Paul Hawken and Gina McCarthy, Hager compiled a list of the most effective ways that every person can help stop global warming. The list included speaking up and breaking the climate silence, getting the right people to represent us in government, holding your existing representatives accountable and collaborating with others. Hager said that anyone who is passionate about stopping global warming and wants to learn more would be a great fit at Crowdsourcing Sustainability. For more information, email ryan@crowdsourcingsustainability.com.

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