Climate change lecture series offers uplifting, philosophical perspective

Photo Courtesy of Scientific American

Story by Madeline Portilla/Contributing Writer

The imminent threat of climate change has long been debated, but the MTSU Honors College held a lecture last week that focused on the positive by citing the recent cultural shift brought about by influential individuals voicing action.

Dr. Phil Oliver, a philosophy professor at MTSU and self-proclaimed “environmental ethicist,” presented an optimistic position on the ecological state and future of political leadership.

“There is a tomorrow, but what’s the forecast? Cloudy, gray, much warmer. Foreboding, unless a ‘new front’ moves in very quickly,” Oliver said.

Emphasis on civic engagement and the impact of individual voices was the central theme of an often pessimistic discussion. He mentioned the importance of voting for candidates who support legislation in favor of renewable energy and protection of environments at risk of complete obliteration.

Oliver elaborated with topics ranging from fossil fuel sustainability myths to the role of government and the activist figures who have harnessed the power of social media to inspire change among millions.

“We are the speaking organ on this planet,” Oliver said.

The rise of new leaders within the ongoing climate change discussion has incited action in recent years through demonstrations and marches that bring thousands of people together.

Oliver presents why serious action in protecting the earth has been stagnant in recent decades. Voting demographics have shown that older generations have a different mindset about the current climate crisis. Apathy has been the norm, because those are the voters, and thus the policy-makers.

“You are going to have to care, because my generation did not,” Oliver said.

He went on to discuss the efforts of Greta Thunberg and having an optimistic mindset for the future, but with a clear understanding of inevitable detriment if comprehensive action is not taken now.

Oliver ended with a message of hope and a plea to care.

“Don’t panic, but don’t stop thinking about tomorrow.”

MTSU’s Honors College lecture series on climate change continues with themes ranging from economics and politics to biology. This series will run until the spring semester ends.


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