Wisconsin’s Inconvenient Truth

James McDaniel

The dimmed energy-efficient bulbs of Science Hall 102 greeted a diverse audience for Ryan Schryver’s talk entitled “Wisconsin’s Inconvenient Truth”. Schryver, Grassroots Organizer of the advocacy group Clean Wisconsin, spoke on global warming and particularly how it will affect Wisconsin. The talk was originally planned for last Monday, May 12 as part of the College Democrats’ “Dem’s Week.” However, as Schryver was not only sick of global warming, but also physically ill, it was rescheduled for Thursday, May 22.
The first slide of his presentation showed Shryver standing next to the famed climate-change activist Al Gore. Last year, Schryver received training from the former Vice President and national climatologists on how to give presentations on climate change. Gore also gave those at the training session hundreds of his slides, used in “An Inconvenient Truth,” which Schryver borrowed throughout his presentation.
Schryver started off by giving the audience a general overview of the science of climate change and its consequences for mankind. He said, “This isn’t something that’s controversial,” noting that politicians from across the political spectrum, from Rev. Al Sharpton to presidential nominee Sen. John McCain, have accepted the scientific conclusions behind human-caused climate change. He emphasized that this acceptance, regardless of political stance, is essential to halt the dire consequences of global warming.
After guiding the audience through the global perspective, Schryver began to talk about how global warming will affect Wisconsin. According to Schryver, the forecast includes loss of local biodiversity, the increase of invasive species, instability in WI’s agricultural economy, more frequent droughts coupled with more frequent extreme weather events, damage to hunting and angling industry, and dropping levels in available water. Schryver even showed slides predicting that by 2095 Wisconsin’s summer will be more like present day Arkansas’s.
In regards to local policy, Schryver notes that, “Wisconsin has not been part of the solution.” He highlighted the fact that Wisconsin is the only state currently planning to build three old technology coal power plants. One will be even less energy efficient than a coal power plant built forty years ago. Schryver encouraged the audience to make green decisions in everyday life as well as voice their concern to state politicians.
Looking around the room, Schryver concluded his speech by saying, “If anyone is going to do something about global warming, it has to be here.