By Maya Bakshani
Bio-diesel shuttles, compost bins in dining halls, and energy efficient light bulbs in dormrooms are just a few ways that UC Santa Cruz is working to combat global warming.People nationwide are responding to the threat of global warming. At UCSC, as well as campuses across California, student coalitions such as California Public Interest Research Group (CalPIRG) are working to decrease carbon emissions. For sociology student Tommaso Boggia, the student board chair of CalPIRG, global warming is a threat. "Whoever doesn’t believe what [scientists] say, either doesn’t believe in science or is under the oil and greenhouse gas payroll," Boggia said.However, some people aren’t so sure that global warming is actually happening. CBS News and Gallup nationwide telephone surveys found that 23 percent of Americans either believe that global warming will never happen or will not affect them in their lifetime.According to sociology professor John Brown Childs, people don’t believe that global warming is happening because they have yet to see its effects. "It’s not a phenomenon you can see or feel in its entirety," Childs said. "You don’t wake up everyday feeling global warming."Childs thinks that UCSC might be the perfect place for climate change awareness to spread."There are practical opportunities at UCSC for both academic and organizational activism against global warming," Childs said.UCSC has been a hotbed of rising organizational activism against global warming and climate change in recent years. In addition to the well-established CalPIRG, UCSC houses many different organizations that are focused on global warming and sustainability. One newly-established class, Education for Sustainable Living Program (ESLP) sets students up with specific environmental projects. One of the main accomplishments of ESLP, according to Boggia, is a hands-on project that ensured that 20 percent of the produce in the dining halls is organic and locally grown. "We are the envy of all the other UCs," Boggia said. "Everybody was awed by UCSC and what we’ve been able to do."According to city councilmember Mike Rotkin, what happens at UCSC can influence the nation. "We think this is a model for other campuses and institutions and how they can begin to address the issue and reduce greenhouse gas emissions," Rotkin said.Aaron Basse, a third-year Merrill student, is worried about how global warming will affect his life. "It’s scary. I hope I’m still alive in 50 years. I want to live out my life," Basse said.In order to build support at UCSC, students will be screening Al Gore’s film, ‘An Inconvenient Truth’, next Wednesday at the Baskin Lecture Hall.According to Councilmember Rotkin, the science in the film shows that change is possible."We could actually stop this," Rotkin said. "It’s not hopeless."