Nature's Haunted House

“Come see what it’s like to live in a haunted house that you can’t escape…” was the foreboding tagline used to promote Nature’s Haunted House, the Thursday, October 25 event put on by the Green Raiders.

With a stuffed animal MUcaw ominously suspended from the West Room’s door handle with a plastic 6 pack ring, Nature’s Haunted House was an interactive display in the West Room in HPCC that showcased the devastating effects of plastic pollution in our oceans and marine life. A myriad of plastic containers were suspended from the ceiling and an ocean video was displayed on the projector to simulate what it would be like to be an animal living in the ocean.

Additionally, flyers containing information and specific statistics about plastic pollution and marine life were dispersed around the room.

According to BBC Earth, at least 180 species of marine animals have been documented consuming plastic. Another statistic cited that many whales and dolphins eat plastic because their echolocation misidentifies plastic objects as food.

One of the most startling statistics included in the haunted house flyers is that according to the World Economic Forum, by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans.

“Environmental degradation is a terrible tragedy,” said Armon Cook, a freshman political science major. “Exhibits like these and statistics like the ones displayed show that we as a society desperately need to rethink our priorities.”

Around one hundred students stopped into Nature’s Haunted House, many of whom had similar reactions to Cook.

“There’s so much more that can be done to help the environment,” said Taylor Breyley, a sophomore marketing and management major. “People don’t think about the environment as much as they should.”

While plastic was the environmental issue focused on during Nature’s Haunted House, it is by far the only environmental issue we’re facing.

A report released on October 8, 2018 by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) explains that scientists around the world completed research that provides strong evidence showing that we only have 12 years to limit climate change catastrophe.

It was previously thought that a 2°C increase in global temperature was what we needed to prevent, but the UN’s report showed that a multitude of studies prove that even a 1.5°C of warming will have profoundly negative effects such as increased loss of sea ice, increasing amount of people experiencing water shortages, and frequent mass mortalities of coral reefs.

As a student, here are some tips on how to cut back on plastic use and curb your carbon footprint:

-Walk, bike, or longboard more than you drive

-Say no to single use plastics such as grocery bags, water bottles, and straws

-Eat less meat and animal products

-Avoid products that contain palm oil

-Bring reusable containers (such as your green Mount Union to-go container) to restaurants for your leftovers

-Go into restaurants instead of going through drive thrus

-REDUCE, Reuse, recycle

While a huge problem lies ahead of us, we have the tools to fix it. Be a part of the solution, not the problem, and do what you can to limit your environmental impact.

For more information about the UN’s Climate report, you can listen to a podcast by The New York Times here.

For more information about sustainability events on campus, visit here.

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