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Posts Tagged ‘Antioch University New England’

Over the past year at Second Nature I’ve been coordinating the “Higher Education Adaptation Committee” – a group of college and university administrators, climate scientists, sustainability professionals and educators exploring higher education’s role and responsibility in ensuring that society is prepared to weather the storms of climate change.

On Monday at the Smart and Sustainable Campuses Conference at the University of Maryland, I co-facilitated a session on this topic with David Caruso, President of Antioch University New England (who serves on the Adaptation Committee).

It proved to be a timely event.  On the day of the session, temperatures in New Hampshire reached the 90s (in April!). It’s been a warm spring all over the northeastern US.  And it was a warm winter – not really a winter at all in many places. Here, the mild weather doesn’t feel all that bad.  But if you understand the implications of climate disruption, it’s pretty horrifying.

I won’t run through the usual list of climate impacts – but here are just a few of recent headlines:

The following video does a great job of explaining how increases in the global average temperatures (global warming) drives all kinds of complex climactic changes – what’s become known as “global weirding”:

On May 5, 2012, the global network of concerned citizens under the 350.org banner will be “connecting the dots” between these impacts of climate change and what they represent in terms of economic damage, ecological destruction and human suffering.

To minimize this damage, we need to continue to create better ways of doing things.  We need to eliminate our greenhouse gas emissions and land-use changes that are driving climate change. (more…)

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By David A. Caruso, President, Antioch University New England and Member, Higher Education Climate Adaption Committee and Abigail Abrash Walton, Assistant to the President for Sustainability and Social Justice, Antioch University New England
(This article appears in the December, 2011 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)

The ACUPCC

As we sat down to write this article, we reflected on the climate change indicators we have witnessed right here in Keene, NH, where Antioch University New England (AUNE) is located.  The most noticeable of these is increased intensity and frequency of storm events.  Indeed, of the 15 largest flood events recorded in New Hampshire since 1934, eight have occurred in just the last five years.  These changes pose compelling challenges for our campus and surrounding communities and have motivated our faculty, students, staff, and community partners to begin to prepare for the risks of climate disruption and to pioneer new models of resiliency.

When the American College & University Presidents’ Commitment (ACUPCC) created a committee to develop a position paper on the role of higher education in climate adaptation, it was recognized that colleges and universities like ours have played a key role in efforts to prevent or mitigate global climate change.  In convening the group of climate experts and institutional leaders that formed the Higher Education Climate Adaptation Committee, the ACUPCC’s Steering Committee emphasized the importance for higher education of taking a new lead: preparing for and responding to impacts and implications of climate change that include unprecedented effects on infrastructure, ecosystems, energy & water supplies, food production, national security, and people’s livelihoods.

From the outset, Committee members adopted the perspective that the role of higher education institutions in climate change adaptation should cut across the three core functions of teaching, research, and community engagement.  The Committee also concluded that institutions must focus on both addressing climate risks to their own operations and engaging in a wide range of initiatives to help society adapt to climate disruption.  In both of these crucial areas, the Committee concluded that, while higher education institutions as a whole have not focused sufficiently on climate adaptation to date, their leadership is essential for successful climate change adaptation in the future. (more…)

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