How can you save the Earth?

Nick Fisk
Staff Writer

PHOTO BY RICHARD DECKER | The Hudsonian Student Newspaper

Eleanor Stein described basic rights and freedoms to which all human beings are entitled in conjunction with climate change.

Former attorney and judge Eleanor Stein addressed climate change, its effects on the Earth and how people can help during a presentation in the BTC auditorium last Tuesday.

After earning her J.D. and LL.M., Stein participated in and created many projects in an effort to help sustain the environment. She recognizes how much has changed since she began her involvement.

“I come to you today realizing your generation is inheriting a much different earth than the one I grew up in,” Stein said. “In fact, nobody really knows all of the ramifications.”

The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has drastically increased throughout the past 200 years. However, Stein says that on a global scale, the climate remains relatively stable.

“No part of nature exists outside of human influence. Based on research, humans are the most influential and decisive factor of climate change,” Stein added.

“The nations of the earth are dealing with hurricane damage and heat wave damage, and it’s directly because of how we industrialized in the last 200 years,” she explained.

Stein sees this as a human rights issue. “A billion people in the developing world lack drinking water. [Life and access to nutrition] are rights every single human being has.”

Stein went on to explain that those in developing countries lack the resources and materials to contribute nearly as much as developed countries have. It is people in these places who suffer most.

She also focused on the “realm of law” and gave examples of ways in which people have challenged those who threaten to greatly harm the planet.

“If you were to go to court … there are certain things the law would require you to show,” Stein stated. “One is that the government took action knowing this would intentionally hurt or injure you. You have to establish that the government owed you a duty to protect you. Finally, you have to show that the court could do something that would help you.”

Stein pushed further, asking what we can expect wealthy nations to do and how to hold them accountable for their actions. She also spoke of how people in the past have successfully taken the U.S. government and several large companies to court, pointing out one situation she believes always works.

“Once major corporations see investors pulling out, that’s when it will affect them,” she said.

Finally, Stein acknowledged the audience and gave everyone suggestions of ways they can help further the cause.

“Frankly, take to the streets, stand up and be counted,” Stein said. “Stand up in your community. As more and more people see us, they’ll take heart.”

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