Sustain UNL kicks off campaign on carbon pricing

Steven Kirchner led others on Saturday in a campaign kick-off for a Sustain UNL project.

Steven Kirchner spent Saturday afternoon grappling with the weighty concept of carbon pricing.

Kirchner, a senior history major from Omaha, is the president of Sustain UNL. Sustain, a student organization focused on environmental issues, is currently working on a campaign called Put a Price on It.

“This is a national campaign led by a nonprofit called Our Climate,” he said. “The goal is to help students lobby their universities to achieve an endorsement on carbon pricing.”

Carbon pricing would put a tax or fee on each ton of carbon emissions released into the atmosphere. Proponents believe this would lead to a greater use of cleaner, more sustainable energy alternatives.

In a meeting at the Union, Kirchner led fellow Sustain members in activities about how to create awareness on campus, in Lincoln and the state as a whole.

While Kirchner is now very active in promoting sustainability and clean energy, he only stumbled upon the concept of sustainability about two years ago.

He was given an extra credit reading assignment for his geology class and from a list of books recommended by the professor, he chose one about global warming and glacier melt.

“It was the shortest one, to be honest,” he said. “But I learned about climate change, and then I started seeing how big of a problem it was.”

He did some research, and learned more about global warming, renewable energy and sustainability; and became a member of Sustain.

Kirchner believes that participating in the Put a Price on It Campaign will lead to federal legislation that will prevent pollution.

“It’s that one key piece that’s missing,” Kirchner said. “We can have renewable energy and recycling and all these different things, but until we can effectively add economics into it, it’s going to be really hard to create a livable world for future generations.”

Kirchner reflects on how pollution affects his community of North Omaha:  Listen

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