COVID-19’s ability to spread through air borne transmission, along with some transmission via contaminated surfaces, has necessitated social distancing measures that often run opposed to sustainable practices but through the pandemic Cornell has maintained its commitment to sustainability and eventual carbon neutrality.
Smoke from the West Coast’s devastating fires stretched across the nation, from sea to shining sea, to reach Ithaca this week. “I wouldn’t have even thought,” said Claire Stein ’24. “It brings out the gravity of the situation: Climate change is very real and affects everyone.”
Following success in pushing Cornell University to divest from fossil fuels in May, Prof. Robert Howarth, ecology and evolutionary biology, and Climate Justice Cornell activist Katie Sims ’20 joined other climate experts from across the state on a virtual panel hosted by 350.org to push for New York’s Common Retirement Fund to divest from fossil fuels.
On Sunday and Thursday afternoon, Ithaca community members witnessed the rapid onset of dangerous winds and precipitation, prompting University-wide alerts through Cornell’s emergency management system. Despite widespread concern, the storms were “nothing spectacular, meteorologically” according to a Cornell professor.
When asked about the plan for Cornell’s reopening during an interview with Scot Vanderpool, General Manager of Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit, I shrugged and gave him the same answer that Cornell students have had to repeat to family members and friends: “We still don’t know.” It is daunting for students to think about this semester’s empty lecture halls and the absence of the usual morning hustle to get to class. However, for TCAT, a business whose financial stability relies on students using bus transportation to and from class, will also suffer from this restructured semester. Public transportation throughout New York State has undoubtedly been impacted by COVID-19. Even with extreme safety precautions in place and free bus fares in some areas (such as Tompkins County), public transit ridership in major cities has gone down by 50 to 90 percent since the pandemic started. However, even before the pandemic, public transportation only accounted for 8 percent of passenger-miles in the U.S. So, why should we care about taking public transportation now, in a time when people are concerned with the spread of COVID-19? The answer is simple: Sustainability and equitability.
After three separate forums featuring different state assembly candidates for the 125th district, the Sunrise Movement is set to make their endorsement decision. Review their stances on the most hot button climate issues.
The charges against eight arrested protesters, who were contesting JP Morgan Chase Bank’s decision to build a pipeline on indigenous land, have been dropped. The bank has now said it would commit to combating climate change.
Every year, Cornellians travel around the country and world to get away from the cold of Ithaca for a couple days during February break. Unfortunately, by emitting greenhouse gases, traveling by car, plane or bus can contribute to climate change — with America’s transportation alone responsible for almost 30 percent of all global warming emissions in the US.
As students flock back to campus from various destinations, Prof. Danielle Eiseman, communication, weighed in on the most sustainable methods for traveling.