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Posts Tagged ‘Anthony Cortese’

By Kenny Ausubel, CO-CEO and Founder, Bioneers
(This article appears in the January, 2011 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)

The ACUPCC

In the words of filmmaker Tom Shadyac, “The shift is about to hit the fan.” We’re experiencing the dawn of a revolutionary transformation. This awkward ‘tween’ state marks the end of pre-history – the sunset of an ecologically illiterate civilization. The revolution has begun – but in fits and starts. The challenge is that it’s one minute to midnight – too late to avoid large-scale destruction. We have to fan the shift to ecoliterate societies at sufficient speed and scale to dodge irretrievable cataclysm.

Anthony Cortese Second Nature Bioneers 2010As H.G. Wells presciently said over a century ago, “We’re in a race between education and catastrophe.” The urgent question today is what education means in the context of catalyzing the widespread mobilization and action needed to accelerate this transition effectively in the shortest period of time.

Since my partner Nina Simons and I founded the Bioneers conference in 1990, we’ve brought together leading social and scientific innovators focused on practical and visionary solutions for restoring Earth’s imperiled ecosystems and our human communities.  For the last 21 years, the Bioneers conference has served as a platform for cross-pollinating ideas and highlighting the solutions already available to us, helping bring them mainstream and inevitably creating leverage for change on larger scales. Every October, thousands gather in northern California to immerse themselves in this environment of hope and transformative possibility; thousands more gather across the country as participants in our Beaming Bioneers satellite conferences, as well.

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Second Nature President Anthony Cortese delivered an inspiring speech at the 2010 Bioneers Conference on the role that higher education must play in addressing climate change. Watch the video below as Dr. Cortese surveys some of the most promising developments in education such as the ACUPCC, and what still needs to happen.

Direct link to video on vimeo.com

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By Anthony Cortese, President, Second Nature

(This article appears in the December, 2010 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)

The ACUPCC

As you know, Second Nature is a non-profit organization whose mission is to transform the education, research, practice and community engagement of higher education in order to foster a healthy, just and sustainable society for all now and in the future. Senator John Kerry, Teresa Heinz and I founded Second Nature in 1993 to help lead this transformation.  Our view of “sustainability” includes and goes well beyond the environmental dimension to embrace the bigger questions of how we create a world in which all current and future humans are healthy, live in secure, thriving communities and have economic opportunity on a finite planet whose capacity to support life becomes more precarious daily.

We did this because of three beliefs.  First, despite heroic efforts on public health and environmental protection in the last 40 years, society was and continues to be on an unhealthy, inequitable and unsustainable path that threatens the viability of a complex modern civilization.  Secondly, we need transformative change in the mindset and actions of individuals and institutions that must be led by higher education.  And thirdly, the current structure and direction of higher education is largely (though unintentionally) reinforcing the unhealthy, inequitable and unsustainable path that society is pursuing.

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By Anthony Cortese, President, Second Nature and Andrea Putman, Director of Corporate Partnerships, Second Nature
(This article appears in the August, 2010 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)

The ACUPCC

The ACUPCC represents a courageous and unprecedented form of leadership by higher education to lead society to a climate neutral and environmentally sustainable state in order to meet the individual, social and economic needs of all humans in the present and in the future.  Signatory schools have committed to be a model for climate neutrality and sustainability and ensure that their graduates will have the knowledge and skills to help all of society do the same.

One of the most exciting developments of this focus by higher education institutions has been the cultural shift that is taking place on many campuses.  Presidents and other campus leaders have recognized that achieving these goals requires the focus, involvement and collaboration of all parts of the institution – administrators, faculty, staff, students and trustees – in deep and synergistic ways.  They have told Second Nature and others that the Commitment has accelerated efforts to integrate academic, research, operational and community outreach actions into a holistic approach to sustainability and that it has done more to build a vibrant community and a sense of shared purpose across the institutions than any other initiative in recent memory.  Collectively, the ACUPCC network has become an important learning community and is helping to encourage all of higher education to make this commitment.

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by Georges Dyer, Second Nature

Georges Dyer

The April issue of the College Planning & Management is once again focused on sustainability this year and provides a wealth of information and examples on green building and sustainable campus planning.

Topics covered include education for sustainability at UC San Diego (“Learning Green” by Rex Graham); repurposed materials for buildings at Johnson State College (“A New Use for Old Wood Bleachers” by Tonya West); and green IT at campuses across the country (“IT Is Easy Being Green” by Rhonda Morin).

Tony Cortese and I also had the opportunity to submit an article titled “The Commitment to Change” on the importance of leadership from senior administrators (in addition to all of the tremendous and necessary leadership from students, faculty, and staff) in really embedding a sustainability perspective into the culture of the institution.

In it we discuss how the 675 (now 684) signatory presidents of the Presidents’ Climate Commitment are demonstrating the leadership-by-example needed on the institutional level, but also for the higher education sector as whole, to create a low-carbon, sustainable future.  We stress the importance of continued active involvement and leadership by presidents and other senior administrators after the piece of paper is signed.  Last year, members of the ACUPCC Steering Committee developed a document called Leading Profound Change to lays out strategies and examples for doing just that.  Finally, we touch on how the ACUPCC, while nominally focused on the challenge of climate disruption, inevitably brings institutions to confront the broader and inter-related sustainability challenges – and how higher education’s leadership is vital to creating a healthy, just, and sustainable society.

It is great to see the focus on sustainability continue to grow in these types of professional periodicals.  Of course, we’re still working towards the day when we won’t need ‘green issues’ because planning, management, and professional development will have a sustainability perspective as a matter of course, but these are important and forward-looking steps towards that day.  To stay up to date on the latest news and resources on campus green building, visit the new Campus Green Builder web-portal developed by Second Nature: www.campusgreenbuilder.org.

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by Rima Mulla, Communications Associate, Second Nature

Last month, Second Nature’s President Anthony Cortese delivered a rousing talk entitled, “Stable Climate: Thriving World?” at TEDx Greenville.

Some of the highlights from Dr. Cortese’s speech:

1:05 Staggering statistics about population growth, energy consumption, declining living systems, and political and economic instability worldwide.

3:57 “How did we get here?”

11:43 Dr. Cortese highlights the measurable impact of several ACUPCC signatory schools’ Climate Action Plans, including those of Ball State University, Los Angeles Community College District, Clemson University, and Greenville’s own Furman University.

View the speech in its entirety here.

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by Rima Mulla, Communications Associate, Second Nature

American College & University Presidents' Climate CommitmentThe theme of the recently released American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment 2009 Annual Report carries through in the latest Second Nature article published by Fast Company: Leadership for a Thriving, Sustainable World.

Here’s an excerpt from the article by Second Nature President Anthony Cortese and Senior Fellow Georges Dyer:

“The Copenhagen negotiations in December failed to deliver a concrete, binding international treaty on climate disruption.  The Senate is at an impasse on creating meaningful federal legislation that can sufficiently address the climate challenge while rebuilding a better economy. […] But leadership happens at all levels within organizations and within communities. […] In the case of eliminating greenhouse gas emissions, colleges and universities have formed the tip of the spear, forging ahead towards climate neutrality. Through the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) network, 675 institutions have come together pledging to take immediate actions, create longer-term plans, and publicly report their progress toward net-zero emissions.”

Read more about how the US Higher Education sector is leading the way, here.

Second Nature has published four articles as part of Fast Company’s Inspired Ethonomics series:

Higher Education’s Purpose: A Healthy, Just, and Sustainable Society
Making a Sustainability Perspective Second Nature in Education
The Campus as Living Laboratory
Leadership for a Thriving, Sustainable World

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