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Editorial

As conversation about environmental issues heats up, so should our actions

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December 8, 2016

On Sunday, it was announced that the Sioux Standing Rock reservation is safe from the Dakota Access Pipeline. After eight months of protests and opposition, this marks a victory. However, the fight is not over.

The pipeline could still be rerouted. In fact, according to Wired, it has been rerouted twice before because of being potentially environmentally unsafe. The problem is that, no matter where the pipeline goes, the risk of the pipe bursting and contaminating the water is going to be there.

We need to take environmental issues more seriously. For a lot of people, this is a true passion. However, for many of us, this is something that we post about occasionally on social media and keep updated about when an issue reaches the mainstream masses. So many people virtually “checked in” to North Dakota on Facebook to show their opposition, and that is a start. However, we could do more.

We can take a stand. You can start small, by joining organizations that care about environmental issues and informing yourself about them. From there, you can begin to inform others and go even bigger by participating in rallies and protests. If you find that this is something that makes you feel good about supporting, use your voice to push it beyond the reaches of social media. Get out there and make a difference if you have the means to do so.

Beyond that, and beyond the DAPL, we can push for divestment from fossil fuels. Part of this is cutting ties with the companies that heavily support the fossil fuel industry, something that is going to be addressed at this weekend’s UW System Student Representatives meeting in Stevens Point.

This is especially important right now, considering an expected move by President-elect Donald Trump. Trump is expected to name Scott Pruitt, who has a history of opposing the Environmental Protection Agency’s current agenda, to lead the EPA. Pruitt has denied the existence of climate change in the past and actually sued the EPA before.

The use of the fossil fuel industry, being supported by large corporations like the Bank of America, has a direct link to the climate change we’re already experiencing. Clearly, the conversation about environmental issues is just beginning to heat up. It is more important than ever to educate yourselves and make your voices heard.