This weekend those readying themselves for prom included not only high school students across the nation, but politicians and news anchors, as the White House Correspondent’s Dinner, also known as “Nerd Prom” took place Saturday night.
As an event where the press and the president are able to take jabs at each other, Obama’s stand up routine has taken center stage on social media for the past few days. Garnering some of the most attention from his speech was the “anger translator” bit, where Jordan Peele’s character Luther, from “Key and Peele,” joined Obama at the podium to help the self-proclaimed “mellow” president express his “true” feelings towards a number of issues.
But when the duo reached climate change, Obama abandoned his translator and got angry all on his own: “Every serious scientist says we need to act. The Pentagon says it’s a national security risk. Miami floods on a sunny day, and instead of doing anything about it, we’ve got elected officials throwing snowballs in the Senate! It is crazy! What about our kids?! What kind of stupid, short-sighted, irresponsible bull-…”
Which is where Luther stepped in.
“All due respect, sir? You don’t need an anger translator. You need counseling.”
All jokes aside, however, climate change is a serious issue that all too often gets ignored. Though clearly part of a comedic routine, Obama brings up some good points. 97 percent of climate scientists agree that current trends are most likely due to human activities, according to NASA.
For 650,000 years, atmospheric carbon dioxide had never been above 300 parts per million. In 1950, we passed that mark, and in years since the parts per million have only increased. The global sea level has risen 6.7 inches in the last century, with the rate in the last decade taking place at nearly double that of the last century. Antarctica lost about 36 cubic miles of ice between 2002 and 2005. All 10 of the warmest years on record have taken place in the last 12 years.
So while Obama’s bit on climate change may have been good for laughs, it also served as a good reminder. This is not an issue that we as a nation, or as a world, can afford to backslide on. Obama has set goals for our country, such as the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to 26-28 percent below 2005 levels, and while big changes are going to have to be made to meet this goal, every individual can also be doing their part.
Some things we can do are small: turn off the lights every time you leave a room, stay away from plastic water bottles and always remember to recycle. Some things are a bit bigger, like helping out at the campus farm, or committing to compositing. But no matter what, do something.