| 03.21.2018

Deck the halls with climate change

Class brings climate change knowledge, awareness to UI

As students rushed to classes and studied in the Idaho Commons during dead week, they may have noticed the halls are decked with poster boards.

University of Idaho students from a geography course on climate change were assigned to research a topic related to climate change and make a poster and present their findings to the UI community.

Nathan Romans | Argonaut Senior Sarah Gussenhoven, a geology and secondary education major, talks about her poster on the effects of acidification on the ocean Tuesday in the Idaho Commons.

Nathan Romans | Argonaut
Senior Sarah Gussenhoven, a geology and secondary education major, talks about her poster on the effects of acidification on the ocean Tuesday in the Idaho Commons.

Students presented their posters Tuesday morning to students in the Idaho Commons and the posters stayed on display for the remainder of the week.

According to senior geography major and participant Nick Ness, the posters are a showcase of UI student achievement and raise awareness on important issues.

The poster topics range from forest fires to droughts and even common climate change misconceptions, he said.

Many of the displays, such as one on salmon runs, are locally relevant. Much of the subject matter is interdisciplinary and has something for students of every major.

Ness did his project on mountain water resources in the Pacific Northwest and how they are being impacted by climate change.

He said his group examined records, charts and other scientific data on winds that impact precipitation and confirmed that precipitation levels are down.

“Decreased stream flow will limit hydroelectric possibilities as well as the water usage and storage that we get from the precipitation in the Northwest,” Ness said. “Much of this region depends on dams for electricity and everyone needs access to fresh water. The Northwest is heavily snowmelt dominated as far as stream flow goes so if there’s a decrease in stream flow there is going to be a decrease in hydroelectric and hydrothermal power.”

Juan Chiquito, a senior political science and history major, said he thinks the poster display is a brilliant idea.

“It is a creative way to inform the average student about climate change since most of them don’t always have time to sit down and read about the issues on their own time,” he said. “The posters are easy to look at even on the way to class. It is also another way to make people less ignorant about the global environment and the issues that we as people should do something about.”

Ness hopes his fellow students will take a look at as many of the posters as possible. He said everyone has something to learn.

“I’m hoping that my fellow students will see that climate is changing,” he said. “There are some posters that even show the human effects like the increase in CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere that contribute. The global temperature is increasing and that is something that we need to be careful of.”

Both Ness and Chiquito said they learned valuable information from the semester-long project. Ness said he hopes the displays will persuade UI students to take action in regard to the environment.

“If we want to help the environment and ourselves we need to figure out ways to mitigate and adapt to climatic effects like forest fires and snow melt,” he said. “It’s something we all need to know about and work on.”

According to Ness, his final project was a culmination of all he has learned at UI.

“It’s my last semester here at Idaho and this project has been something that I really tried to take a lot of pride in and tried to put forth all the knowledge that I learned throughout my four and a half years here,” he said. “I’m excited and I hope people get to learn from it.”

Shannon Kelly can be reached at arg-news@uidaho.edu

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