‘Future at risk’: Earth Day events spark sustainability and climate discussion


Holger Meyer, a physics professor, speaks to two students about renewable energy on April 21.

If you were on campus Friday afternoon, you might have seen two cars sitting outside of the Rhatigan Student Center. 

Those cars — one belonging to Holger Meyer — were electric cars. Although Meyer, a physics professor, bikes to school almost every day, he brought his car to strike up conversations with those passing by the RSC.

“I try to raise awareness about the possibility of using renewable energy sources,” Meyer said. “We don’t need to extract and burn any more coal, oil or gas.”

Meyer touched on different forms of renewable energy, like wind and solar energy, and said the economy and industry can be powered through electric energy.

“There’s enough potential in renewable energy to make that transition,” Meyer said. “Some of it is starting to happen, but it’s not happening fast enough.”

During 2020, carbon dioxide emissions dipped due to the COVID-19 pandemic but have since gone up, with several organizations projecting a greater increase in 2023.

“Things are getting worse and worse,” Meyer said. “We’ve got to start to be serious about limiting our carbon emissions.”

Meyer’s presentation on renewable energy is part of a larger series of events centered around Earth Day. Some community members and Wichita State faculty exhibited their contributions to going green in or near the RSC on Friday.

Toni Jackman, a geology lecturer at WSU, offered materials on Wichita State’s geology department as well as upcoming Earth Day events. 

“People often think geology is just about rocks,” Jackman said. “If you really want to do something that has good job potential, pays good salaries, and you feel like — when you’re doing it — you’re improving the world, then going into environmental science/environmental geology, is a really good way to do it.”

Jackman, a member of the Shockers Go Green Planning Committee, wants the Earth Day events to inspire students.

“Anything we could do to get students involved,” Jackman said. “So much of this action starts at the level of young people … because it’s their future at risk.”

On Saturday, April 22, the university will screen the award-winning documentary film “Earth Emergency.” The film details climate feedback loops and tipping points. The filmmaker, Bonnie Waltch, will be in attendance as well.