Thirty five pairs of intrigued eyes were locked in to the horrifying images that appeared before them. Laughs were shared, harsh truths were revealed and a cold reality was brought to the attention of the students and faculty who attended David Arnold’s presentation.
On Tuesday night in Marsh Chapel, Arnold, who was a freelance journalist for 25 years, presented an accumulation of information, pictures and stories that he gathered over the years on the topic of global warming.
In the mid 1900’s Brad Washburn, a photographer, embarked on a mission to take photographs of some of the world’s biggest glaciers in Alaska and Switzerland. When Arnold found these photos, his idea was to retake the same photo, at the same time, on the same day, and from the same angle as Washburn’s photos to compare the differences.
“I saw the world changing really quickly and dramatically,” says Arnold. “I saw how unwilling people were to deal with this at all.”
Greenhouse gases, fumes from cars and even methane gas are all major contributors to global warming. According to NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, average temperatures have climbed 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit around the world since 1880. Most of the rise in temperature has been in the most recent decades.
With global warming quickly on the rise, temperatures are expected to continue rising as well with the rise in sea level and a widespread decrease in snow and ice from major mountains and glaciers. These effects could have a tremendous ripple effect, decreasing the amount of crops, animals and even humans that inhabit the earth, according to Arnold.
Throughout the presentation Arnold shared his photos with the audience, revealing pictures of glaciers that had receded up to 12 miles and coral reefs that appeared to have the color and life drained from them.
Anger and passion is what drives Arnold, derived from people that don’t take responsibility for their actions. Arnold stood in front of his audience; he left his filter at the door as he laid on an abundance of information and realities that left a far from forgettable impression.
“If you accept that we are headed toward a real problem, then you get mad,” said Arnold. “When you start getting angry [that’s] when you start attracting attention. Then change happens.”
With this problem falling into the laps of the younger generation, Arnold stressed that change is something that is attainable, but only through real action.
Dr. Jonathan Parrott, the director of sustainability and land use management here at Springfield College, feels as though the responsibility of the younger generation won’t come without some challenges.
“It strikes me that we are going to be carriers of a message of disquiet, people aren’t going to like to hear what we are saying because it means that we are all going to have to make some sacrifices and compromises,” said Parrott. “We need to have a clear message on this because people, smart people believe it or not, are going to be debating this.”
As the presentation came to a close, Arnold packed his briefcase, apologized for all the harsh words and truths that he laid upon the audience, and with a grin and a chuckle he closed with, “I dished it out pretty hard tonight. I never used to do that. I’ll never get asked back here again.”