Climate change is a hot topic

In recent months, the topic of climate change has once again caught the attention of world leaders.

At the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Beijing last November, President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping reached what is being called a “historic agreement” to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Less than a week later, at the G20 summit in Brisbane, Australia, the U.S. president pledged up to $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund to help poor countries invest in clean energy and cope with rising seas and extreme weather.

World leaders are not the only ones turning their attention to the topic. Tonight at 1900 hours, in Plumley Armory, Chairman of the Board of Trustees General Gordon R. Sullivan, USA (Ret.) ’59 will address the connection between climate change and national security when he takes the podium to open the spring 2015 Todd Lecture Series. I really hope you will take the time to hear the former Chief of Staff of the Army, and one of Norwich’s most distinguished alumni, talk about this highly relevant issue to your generation.

Building resilience to climate change globally helps safeguard food supplies, health, education, and economic welfare. Countries that are more resilient to natural disasters such as tsunamis, hurricanes, and mudslides need fewer costly interventions to restore stability and rebuild in the aftermath of extreme climate events. This reality was brought home last month in the stories told by the NUVISIONS Abroad team that just spent two and a half weeks in the Philippines, where two devastating typhoons in two years’ time laid waste to entire communities, displacing thousands and threatening the health and safety of thousands more.

Our world is shrinking. What affects one country affects us all. As citizens of the most powerful nation in the world, you bear the burden of “fixing” problems that happen halfway around the globe. I have every confidence that you will use your Norwich-learned skills and leadership to rise to the challenge and help forge future global energy solutions.

In 2013, our Delta T-90 Solar Decathlon team designed and built an affordable, net-zero energy-efficient home that stands up to even the harshest Vermont winters. That multidisciplinary project marks only the beginning of how today’s Norwich students are making a better future for all.

From nursing, to architecture, to civil engineering, to political science and environmental science, to business—Norwich students in every major across the curriculum are acquiring the knowledge and developing the tools that will one day contribute to the security, health, education, safety, and economic stability of all nations, in the face of any adverse weather pattern.

Climate affects every aspect of our lives, from the clothes we wear, to the cars we drive, to the foods we eat, to where we vacation. Embrace it, and you might just change the world.

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