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TWU’s climate change concerns in light of recent and future weather

As recent weather catastrophes impact everyday life, climate change becomes more ominous than ever. In recent years, Texas citizens remember the winter freeze of 2021. Weather differences, climate change, air quality and greenhouse gas emissions are assimilated into every aspect of life. 

According to Tufts University, climate change has coincided with recent higher rates of mental health issues. Eco grief, climate anxiety and added stress affirms increasing familiarity as the fever of the Earth ensues. Concern as to the future  health of our Earth has come into question, and dwelling over such uncertainty assembles an unfavorable trend.  

“I can remember in grad school crying after learning about glaciers melting,” Professor Alana Presley Taylor said. “It makes my stomach hurt teaching and speaking about it.” 

Taylor, a visiting lecturer teaching environmental science and sustainability, advocates for the promotion of sustainability knowledge and practice. She said she recognizes the cruciality of climate change and the growing urgency of action required. 

“Protecting the environment is the protection of children,” Taylor said. “The definition of sustainability is to preserve. I had a child very young, so it became very real to me the importance of preserving our planet. I have two young children now, and I stay up at night, worrying. I worry about other children globally, not just my own, and how they will be affected as environmental destruction is worsening. I can’t say I’ve ever stopped advocating for the environment since.” 

Climate change has coincided with recent higher rates of mental health issues.

Tufts University

Richard Sheardy, Ph.D., Associate Director of TWU School of the Sciences, prioritizes sustainability in every mode of his teachings. Taylor and Sheardy both believe that educating younger generations on sustainable practices initiates towards a greener future. 

“Teaching children from kindergarten the evidence of climate change, as well as easing anxiety through sustainable practices can help significantly,” Sheardy said. “Students should learn the fun of the science surrounding them. Getting students interested at an early age can show them the beauty around us. Then they will understand the cause of the preservation of that beauty.”

The extremity of the fever-like state of the planet formulates recognition by political organizations. Methods of addressing  the environment are being proposed and debated throughout current legislation today, as was similarly proposed in the past. The heightened sense of ominous fear facilitates a call to action for many. 

“The United Nations Conference of the Parties is a yearly conference discussing determinants and policies, including climate change,” Taylor said. “If you look at presidential history in the United States, George H.W. Bush  was the first to speak of environmental urgency, as well as calling for action. As well as Bill Clinton proposing efficiency in energy and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.” 

Throughout anxieties and attempts of political action, a sense of hopelessness emerges as environmental disaster reports are across news. Taylor insists upon an effective call to action now more than ever, but the continuation of unsustainable practices are being maintained, as well as their horrific effects on communities and wildlife. 

“How does drought impact children, hunger and food security, and heat extremity? As Maslow’s hierarchy of needs demonstrates, if basic necessities are unmet through environmental disaster how society is supposed to continue,” Taylor said. “Climate change is a marathon issue, it will not be solved overnight. Generation Z does an amazing job at being skeptical and questioning complex issues through holistic practices, such as human and social rights. Social justice– that is what will aid in climate change.” 

As widespread initiative cautions taken globally to fight global warming, the question as to the endorsement policies sufficiency is combatable. As a result of the tumultuous changes to the environment, anxiety highlights the question of resource adequacy-  the lack of which causes increased panic. Policies created for the prevention and consideration of global warming are lacking in the effectiveness to curb climate anxiety.  

Taylor insists upon an effective call to action now more than ever.

“There is a turnover in generations, more people are thinking of sustainability, and careers are emerging for such purposes. Consumers are putting money into sustainable companies,” Taylor said. “Sustainability is a practice that everyone can be working towards. For instance, in the school of sciences at TWU, the Chemistry Division has zero-impact events. This includes encouraging guest speakers to reduce carbon footprint whilst traveling, trying to reduce event waste, mindful of catering practices- hiring local restaurants that have sustainable practices.” 

At TWU, climate change initiatives cause significant concern. Actions including the emergence of  degrees in environmental science and environmental chemistry, promoting education towards conservation to students. Similarly, a sustainability committee consisting of faculty and staff  whose goal is promoting sustainability practices has been erected to lower emissions that TWU creates. These are instances of the action towards TWU’s pledge to sustainability. 

Dr. Sheardy’s students are assigned “sustainability projects” for the analysis, impact, and viewing of climate change on individuals’ lives. 

“I’ve had what my students call a sustainability project. A presentation on a chosen topic in which there is an explanation of their research,” Sheardy said. “I give a survey at the beginning and end of class, and their attitudes about the environment do change.” 

As education is integral in increasing sustainability practices, the TWU website states that majors across TWU consciously review their field of study and the environmental implications. 

A sustainability committee consisting of faculty and staff  whose goal is promoting sustainability practices has been erected to lower emissions that TWU creates.

“If you look at sustainability discipline itself, I can’t think of where sustainability isn’t relevant,” Taylor said. “Fashion design majors are eco-conscious of understanding the origins of fabric and fabric dye and its effect on the environment, whereas education majors are discovering ways of implementing sustainable practices in the classroom. Human resource students consider OSHA standards, as well as protective clothing for heat prevention in construction work.” 

Annalise Soto-serrano can be reached by email at 

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