Though usually on opposite ends of the spectrum on environmental issues, religious figures, outdoors activists and scientists came together to speak Tuesday afternoon about global warming and climate change.
Richard Ready , Penn State professor of agricultural and environmental economics, began the seminar at the Schlow Library Community Room.
He said he previously conducted a survey relating to renewable electricity generation, and the majority of participants said they were willing to pay a higher electricity bill in order to see an increase in renewable electricity.
“Seventy-nine percent of our respondents said they wanted more renewable electricity generation, while 59 percent believe renewable electricity is not an issue only related to climate change in Pennsylvania,” he said.
Pastor Marv Friesen , a spokesperson for the University Mennonite Church, discussed the issue through a theological perspective.
He said he believes that God would like for society to see each other as “neighbors” and to care about climate change because it affects everybody.
Ed Perry , the Pennsylvania outreach coordinator for the National Wildlife Federation, was the final speaker of the event
He said he’s been working on climate change issues since 2006 and, as a fisherman and hunter, he realizes that Pennsylvania residents want more renewable energy. He said he strongly feels the community must be proactive about positively changing the environment now.
He said 60 percent of sportsmen, or people who frequently partake in outdoor activities, think that global warming is happening. However, 72 percent of people agree that we can improve the environment and better the economy by investing money into renewable energies, he said.
At the roundtable’s conclusion, Executive Director of Pennsylvania’s Interfaith Power and Light group Cricket Hunter said she feels that it is the responsibility of the citizens to speak up, in addition to those in power.
She urged citizens to speak with legislators about their concerns.
“I think one of the most important things for voters to realize is, especially for students who are new to being a citizen and a civic participant, our legislatures don’t read minds,” Hunter said. “They have offices and aids to help them learn about particular issues but frankly, the entire society is on information overload and things move very quickly.”