Nestled in the B.D. Owens Library, tucked away in the International Involvement Center, a small group of students from around the world laughed and talked before the First Friday Culture Talk Sept. 6.
First Friday Culture Talks is a monthly meeting open to all students to discuss topics that impact not only the U.S., but other countries around the globe. Senior Valentine Osakwe hosted the event.
“There are only two rules,” Osakwe said. “Don’t shoot the messenger, and ask questions if you need clarification.”
This meeting focused on climate change.
From South Korea to Nigeria, from Brazil to Nepal, students could all agree that they have seen the effects of climate change in their home countries.
Nayeon Lee, a senior, calls South Korea home and noticed a change in her country’s seasons as she grew up.
“I always thought South Korea was always kind of famous for having four distinct seasons,” Lee said. “But now we don’t really have a spring or fall. Summer is longer and hotter. Winter is longer and colder.”
Lee isn’t the only one to notice a change in seasons. Students from Nepal, India, Nigeria and the U.S. also commented on how the seasons have changed. The consensus was that summer and winter have gotten longer and spring and fall are nowhere to be found.
Freshman Rithvik Ramakrishnan is from southern India. He thinks new natural disasters back home are an impact of climate change.
“There have been a lot of floods where I’m from as of recently,” Ramakrishnan said. “I’ve talked to my parents and there were no floods from their childhood. I have to assume it’s a drastic effect caused by climate change.”
Exchange student Takuya Matsumoto said every country has a role to play in fighting climate change.
“My government, Japan, is trying to change power and energy,” Matsumoto said. “So the Japanese government is trying to change.”
Other points in the conversation included how governments around the world can try to minimize their contribution to climate change.
“I think people can be more aware of the idea of climate change to begin with,” Ramakrishnan said. “A lot of people tend to neglect it. So if we all acknowledge that climate change exists and it does have more adverse effects, then we can take more action.”
Climate change has been a hot button topic in politics for years. The United Nations collected reports from around the world discussing the effects of Earth’s changing climate and how it can be slowed down.
According to the U.N.’s webpage on climate change, there are three key factors in combating the climbing climate: a strong mitigation strategy, youth engagement and mobilization and strong social and political drivers.
The First Friday Culture Talk allowed students to gain insights about other countries they may not have realized were also affected by climate change.
Ramakrishnan said the chance to sit down with other students to discuss the problem was beneficial.
“I think it was a very fruitful discussion,” Ramakrishnan said. “I got to get a perception on every country like Tanzania and Nepal and how climate change is affecting them. I didn’t even know how much change was affecting them, climate wise.”