Saving the world with environmental science

Park City High School’s Philip Morone has suggestions

Maisey Mansson Park Record Intern
Maisey Mansson, holding a furry friend named Navie, is an intern for The Park Record this year.
Courtesy of Maisey Mansson

With climate change being a very prevalent challenge in today’s world and making headlines every day, it’s important to stay informed. 

While it can seem like an obstacle that is quite impossible to overcome, if everyone does their part in helping the environment, bringing an end to the dangers of climate change can become a much easier goal to achieve. 

Luckily, there are many people and experts to help with this task, including Philip Morone, Park City High School’s AP Environmental Science teacher.

Morone graduated from Arizona State University, and he took the Medical College Admissions Test, with wishes to attend medical school after graduation. 

I think the main takeaway is just to understand that the reality today is very different than it was 100 years ago or even fifty years ago.” Philip Morone, Park City High School’s AP Environmental Science teacher

At the time, his father was working as a teacher at Park City High School, and Morone began substituting at the school to make some extra money. The gig led to a full-time job as a substitute teacher. 

Morone has taught several different areas of science: anatomy, physics, biology, chemistry and, of course, environmental science. He had originally focused his skills on teaching AP biology, but when the school was in need of an environmental science teacher, he was the perfect choice. 

“AP environmental science was a sort of side gig, and now here, it’s the main gig,” he said.

With more than one hundred students, many high schoolers have become intrigued by the earth and what creates and inflames the issues of climate change because of Morone’s teaching. 

When asked what he thought the most important thing people should know about helping and saving the environment was, Morone provided a few different takeaways for people to remember. 

“I think the main takeaway is just to understand that the reality today is very different than it was 100 years ago or even fifty years ago,” he said. “The reality is that many of the people in charge making decisions have kind of grown up in a world and (have a) worldview where there are far fewer people here and the impacts of those people are far less.” 

With a current population of almost 8.1 billion, the global population is increasing by one hundred thousand people each day. And this makes the earth’s resources that much more valuable and important to conserve. 

“The take home message is we have to be cognisant of that and aware of that, and we have to behave differently,” Morone said. “We can’t do the same things that our parents and grandparents did. We just can’t, and it’s no fault of our own. It’s just a matter of limited resources and a lot of people.” 

So many experts say that humans cannot continue their past practices and habits because doing so will lead the planet down a devastating and irreversible path. 

“The second take home message is that there’s a lot of connections in the natural world and there’s a lot that we take for granted,” Morone said. “Sometimes, things appear to be very minor and superficial, like ‘OK, so what (if) I have some plastic bags?’ but those will end up in a landfill. Again, all of those things have far reaching impacts.” 

A huge factor in climate change is the idea that billions of people are making choices thinking that they make no difference in the planet. In reality, that large number of people can mean a large number of harmful decisions that can severely damage the environment, Morone said. He also said that change can start with just one person deciding to care and to do better. 

This simple idea can be the first step in saving the planet, but Morone goes on to note that it will take much more than that to get the job done.

“I think that the last take home message is that everything we do in a positive way helps,” he said. “Ultimately, for me personally, I don’t think that we can rely on people individually to make the necessary changes because to be quite frank we’re too wrapped up in our own lives. … We only live a small scale in space. We don’t see the bigger picture. We can’t see the bigger picture.” 

This idea demonstrates how it can be difficult for people to realize how severe climate change really is. When winter comes, and it is still cold, people fail to recognize the dangers and effects of global warming because how would they recognize it when there is still snow on the ground?

Despite this belief, global warming still negatively affects the world each and every day, and it is up to the earth’s most powerful inhabitants, humans, to do something about it. 

“Change has to happen from the top down. I think some people might disagree with that, but I think the change has to be legislated,” Morone said, expressing his support for regulations as a method of making real change and improvements in the world. “I’ll just use a small example to illustrate the point, and that’s plastic bags.”

There are people who go out of their way to bring their own reusable bags, but the vast majority of people won’t, Morone said.

“The best way to solve (this) is you just go to a store one day and there are no plastic bags,” he said. “Now, you will adapt as a human being. I guess that’s kind of a cynical approach to humans, but I just don’t think we have the time to wait.” 

Morone longs for people to understand the urgency of this global issue, because it is not a scientist issue or an issue created by wildlife. 

This is a human issue. If humans created this problem, it is possible that they can also find a solution. This doesn’t just require one or two people. This requires all 8 billion of us. 


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