Utah State Anthropocene Working Group to host climate change competition

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This week, the Utah State University Anthropocene Working Group will begin accepting submissions for its Creative Climate Response Project competition.

The word ‘Anthropocene’ refers to a way of thinking about our human period on the earth and its impact on the environment. The working group, or think tank, began in November 2015, the day after President Donald Trump was elected. Heidi Hart, one of the Anthropocene group’s founders, said that she hoped the group would lift the spirits of those who were put off by Trump’s new presidency and how it would affect the environment.

“We wanted to reach students who are a little put off by the doom and gloom aspect of climate change and political discourse,” Hart said.

But the group wanted to do more than just talk about solutions to the climate problem. So they created a competition and invited all Utah State students to come up with projects that relate to creating positive solutions to the climate crisis.

“We want to raise awareness for the problem but also encourage students to come up with really good ideas to mitigate the effects of our human presence on the earth,” Hart said.

All project proposals are due by Mar. 13 and should be turned in to Heidi Hart via email. There are no limits as to what kind of project can be proposed as long as it relates to finding a climate crisis solution.

“The value of this is that it has people from different backgrounds come together and talk about this issue and not say there is just one answer,” said Anders Hart, a student member of the group.

Once all the proposals are submitted, the group will examine every proposal and choose the top 10 to be displayed at the Utah State Earth Day Celebration.

Logan Christian, a member of the team directing the Earth Day Celebration, said he looks forward to seeing the impact the projects will have on people attending the celebration.

“Climate change is one of the biggest issues of our time,” Christian said. “Students really care but unfortunately some of our representatives don’t… I hope this will get their attention.”

Several environmental bills were introduced this year during the ongoing legislative session, including a bill to give electric vehicle owners tax breaks, another to amend the individual income tax credit for certain residential renewable energy systems and one that will require the operator of a gasoline cargo tank to meet certain requirements to control the emission of gasoline vapors.

“Our environmental challenges won’t be solved with hyperbole or misinformation,” said Gov. Gary Herbert during last year’s legislative session. “We must invest our limited resources in programs and technology that will actually work, not just rhetoric that ignores common sense.”

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Photo by Megan Albrechtsen