Haas Speaks Before Classroom About Effects of Global Warming

“The purpose of this talk is to give you some updated information that will make you not be able to sleep at night,” said Peter Haas, who is part of Appropriate Infrastructure Development Group (AIDG), an organization that provides communities with affordable and environmentally friendly resources. Haas gave a presentation to the community last Wednesday on the shocking realities of global warming. “There is no excuse for being ignorant about the situation because information is so available,” said Raya Stantcheva ’10. Haas explained that the Arctic is melting at an alarming rate. In 2001, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicted that the arctic would be completely melted by around 2080. However, a 2005 study sped up the estimated date to 2013. “Melting of polar icecaps increases the speed at which global warming happens,” said Haas, because ice plays a vital role in keeping the earth cool by reflecting the sun’s heat. In addition, Haas explained that the melting of glaciers dramatically raises sea levels. If entirely melted, the glacier ice in western Antarctica would raise sea levels by 150 feet. If sea levels rise just 10 meters, much of Boston will be underwater. Haas encouraged PA students to take action, explaining that they have a large influence because they are highly educated. Haas said, “If you can vote with your pocketbook and you can convince your family and community to say we’re only going to buy renewable energy, you create a market demand for renewable energy.” He continued, “If there’s one thing that we have in the U.S., in Massachusetts, in this community here, it is the ability to vote with our pocketbook. There are these consumers that are gobbling up the world’s resources. We get to choose how we gobble up the world’s resources, and what we tell the producers we want to get.” Although Haas acknowledged that students are too young to make a truly significant impact, he suggested contributions such as switching to fluorescent light bulbs, making sure that buildings are weather-stripped, writing to congressmen urging them to consider more environmentally-friendly options and pushing the school’s administration to institute more green technology. “The things you can do to save are so easy,” said E-Steward Meredith Rahman ’10, who organized Haas’ presentation. Before he began working for AIDG, Haas worked on an organic horse ranch where he learned skills regarding electrical systems, masonry, plumbing and other areas. Rebecca Bogdanovitch, Sustainability Coordinator, said, “It’s great for students to get a chance to meet someone like Peter who has had a lot of different experiences and is the kind of person who wants to make a difference in the world and just to hear about his journey.”