CEE’s John Tickle Professor and James Gibson Professor Joshua Fu is a world-renown climate expert who would normally be at the United Nations global climate talks (COP26) with world leaders about global climate targets. Instead, he was at UT with four other climate experts for the 2021 One Health Day, a campus-wide event hosted by the One Health Initiative.
The panel spoke about the challenges and possibilities of climate action in a variety of areas, including human health, education, income inequality, and individual actions that people can take. When asked about some of the largest threats of climate change, Fu mentioned heat islands, especially for low-income people who cannot pay their energy bills.
“These problems will gradually spread to different communities no matter their income levels,” he said. “This year we had a heat wave in Europe. Last year and 2019, too. We can have more frequent heat waves. Those cause problems.”
The panel was also asked about strategies that people can use to take action around climate change. Fu referred to his experience with the United Nations.
“The United Nations has sustainable development goals; they have very good guidelines,” he said. “The University of Tennessee is now utilizing that and promoting it to our students.”
Fu says that one effective strategy is to approach the youngest generations with education.
“Then they can tell their parents, ‘you need to do that.’ This is one strategy, to go to these younger people, to start,” he said. “We need to (reach) those young kids, when they grow up they carry the mindset. These are cultural things. It’s not a one-day or overnight solution. But I believe we will get there.”