Tony Parra: PNT Staff Writer
Experts in the fields of political science, meteorology, geology and science for the most part felt that air pollution is causing global warming but also felt it would be difficult to change the mindset of government officials and general public members to conserve energy and stop air pollution.
Ken Leap, a meteorologist, formerly of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and James Constantopoulos, associate professor of geology, were the first two speakers of the public forum on global warming in the Zia Room on the Eastern New Mexico University campus.
“I think they were really good,” Darin Brown, a math professor in the audience, said. “You have to get a visibility on different kinds of issues. You have to increase the awareness on these issues.”
Mercedes Agogino, emeritus professor of physics, and Daniel Acheson-Brown, associate professor of political science, were the other two speakers of the forum.
Acheson-Brown said changing the mindset of government officials would be a tough chore, but it can be accomplished.
“Our current (presidential) administration wants to go get more oil,” Acheson-Brown said. “Find it, drill it, exploit it. I worry that environmental laws will be loosened up.
Environmental groups will have their work cut out for them.”
Constantopoulos said there are two sides in the argument of whether air pollution causes global warming.
Constantopoulos said there are some in the field of science who argue the current trend of global warming is just a natural cycle, as was the ice age. He said some scientists say eventually the trend will reverse.
Constantopoulos said there is proof that the global temperature has increased by four degrees Fahrenheit over the last 25 years. He said this has caused glaciers to melt and increased sea levels.
According to Constantopoulos, in an extreme case of global warming causing glaciers to melt and for sea levels to increase four feet, places such as Boston, New York, New Orleans and the state of Florida would be under water.
Darin Brown said there are some things government representatives can do to reverse the problem of air pollution causing global warming.
“They could (submit new) legislation to help the environment,” Brown said. “The government has repealed a lot of environmental laws. It’s difficult to get through to them sometime.”
Agogino said the mindset is tough to change for general public members, also. She said many people don’t think ahead to how future generations will be impacted.
“We’re not thinking of our children and grandchildren the way we are living,” Agogino said about people not conserving energy and causing air pollution.
Mary Ayala, moderator for the forum, said a reason for the public forums was because of the lack of voters in the age group that most college students belong to in the last election. Ayala said this is a way of encouraging thinking and hopefully voting.