Saving the planet on a tight budget

staff member.

The lecture was designed not just to inform, but to make the often-daunting issue of global warming relevant to daily life, something Daley has been doing for years. In her five-minute opening address, Daley addressed her career path and the difficulties inherent in being an environmental reporter.

“My whole job is to make people understand where they fit in global warming,” she said. “It’s a hard subject to write about because it is so global and it kind of oozes out over the decades. It’s difficult to make it relevant, but that’s what I do.”

Daniel Glickman’s company also seeks to take the guesswork out of going green. Sustainable Construction Services Inc. specializes in residential green remodeling, using all eco-friendly materials and processes in every step of its projects.

Today, residential and commercial buildings consume 39 percent of total U.S. energy, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Web site. They account for 53 percent of our primary consumption of natural gas and 71 percent of our electricity consumption.

Emerson has its own green-friendly facility in the Piano Row dormitory, testimony to Glickman’s claim that the green construction industry is one of the fastest-growing niche markets in the country.

One problem each panelist addressed is what they said was the public’s perception of the insignificance of their own actions.

“Consumers want a fancy item that they can easily interpret and then be done with it,” Glickman said, in response to a question about average Americans making their homes green without building a new one.

However, skepticism about combating climate change loomed over the panel’s discussion.

“I don’t want to be unpopular,” cautioned Dr. Goldsmith, “but I’m nervous that [.] everyone is jumping on the green bandwagon, and that if new research is found about other causes for climate change than what we think, the green community will lose all its momentum.”

As an environmental studies graduate, Glickman said he has studied global warming and concluded it is real, and being caused by humans. He shared his and his classmates’ conclusions that if society as a whole fails to reduce our emissions to what they were at 1990, or less, this situation could spiral out of our control by 2050.

“Even I’m skeptical sometimes,” Bergeron said. “I ask myself: does it really matter what I do? Does it matter if I shut off that light before I leave the room? But hopefully [this discussion] shed some light on the climate change situation for all of us, myself included.”