Dec 9th, 2017, 09:41 AM

An Evening With Al Roker

By Cristina Mendoza
Image Credit: Cristina Mendoza
We need to take action to save our planet.

AUP was honoured to host Al Roker for a talk on the environment and climate change on December 8, 2017. The event was held in Combes right before the Annual Holiday Bash. Current students, faculty members, and alumni attended the event in which Mr Roker discussed the effects of climate change, especially over the past year. 

Mr Roker is a world-renowned meteorologist, television personality, actor, published author, and media mogul. He has been the weather anchor on NBC's Today since 1996. In addition to his work on television and the news, he also wrote a children's book about extreme weather, a series of murder mysteries with Dick Lochte and a non-fiction book Been There, Done That: Family Wisdom for Modern TImes with his wife Deborah Roberts. 

“What kind of planet are you leaving for your children and your grandchildren?”

Mr Roker began his talk by giving an overview of greenhouse gases and highlighted their importance in maintaining a habitable climate on earth, but also their detrimental effects. Greenhouse gases are necessary as they “create an envelope” in the atmosphere that traps heat on Earth. Without the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, Mr Roker noted that the average temperature around the world would be 0 degrees Celsius — freezing! 



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However, since the Industrial Revolution, there has been an exorbitant rise in greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere. As a result, global warming and climate change have begun to occur and this year, 2017, will be the second warmest year in history. Mr Roker said, “the problem is getting rid of the gases,” as they are trapped in the atmosphere and cannot escape. It would take approximately 1,000 years to bring the carbon dioxide levels today down to the levels they were at prior to the Industrial Revolution. The higher the levels in the atmosphere, the more detrimental the effects on earth. 

Climate change creates greater extremes in the atmosphere. 2017 was the costliest year in terms of damage from hurricanes. It also was the first year to experience two consecutive category 5 hurricanes that made landfall as category 5 storms. Roker also made sure to relate the data back to the students, explaining the extreme weather events such as Hurricane Harvey are directly related to global warming.