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Posts Tagged ‘College of the Atlantic’

By Sarah Brylinsky, Program Associate, Second Nature
(This article appears in the July, 2012 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)

The ACUPCC

Download the 2012 Climate Leadership Highlights PDF

Signatory Presidents at the 2012 Summit

Signatory presidents of the ACUPCC pose for a photograph during the opening reception

The 6th Annual American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) Climate Leadership Summit took place June 21st-22nd in Washington, DC at American University. 53 signatory presidents and senior staff from over 65 institutions gathered to celebrate the first five years of the ACUPCC and to respond to the summit theme of Economic Renewal: jump-starting a sustainable economy through the ACUPCC.  The attendees discussed ways for advancing peer-to-peer learning and support across the ACUPCC, and identified next steps to foster the ongoing sustainability transformation of higher education by preparing students for the 21st century economy, increasing affordability and access through cost savings, and advancing innovation through research, experimentation, and role-modeling solutions in campus operations.

Special Report: Celebrating Five Years of Climate Leadership

Five Year Report

The ACUPCC released a special report: Celebrating Five Years of Climate Leadership | The Progress and Promise of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment

A special report, Celebrating Five Years of Climate Leadership: The Progress and Promise of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, was released at the Summit, detailing successes from signatory campuses across the country and innovation in education, emissions reductions, financing, and more.

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By Anthony Cortese, President, Second Nature

The last few months of 2011 were full of important sustainability news and events relevant to Second Nature’s work and the ACUPCC.

Dr. Mary Fifield, President, Bunker Hill Community College

The ACUPCC Regional Collaborative Symposium, hosted by Bunker Hill Community College in November, was a big hit with very positive feedback from the evaluations from the participants.  One of the highlights was a panel of presidents including Paul Ferguson (University of Maine System), Mary Fifield (Bunker Hill Community College), Gloria Larson (Bentley College) and Jonathan Lash (Hampshire College). A summary of the symposium by Sarah Brylinsky, Program Associate at Second Nature can be found here.

Furthermore, Second Nature released a white paper on the role of higher education in addressing adaptation, or ‘climate preparedness’ to unavoidable climate disruption which will occur because of our inability to cap and reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the last 20 years.  It was developed under the guidance of Professor Jim Buizer (University of Arizona, IPCC member and Second Nature Board Member) with some of the best adaptation experts in the country.

"Women swim through contaminated water in the low-lying Asian country of Bangladesh." (Photo courtesy of Greenpeace UK)

Despite what the public is hearing about climate change and the dismal international results at the Conference of the Parties in Durban, South Africa in December the science is saying that the problem is growing at an unprecedented and scary rate and the tipping points are appearing much sooner and are much more worrisome than when the IPCC came out with its big report in 2007.  The impacts, already being felt around the world and in the US, will be greatest on the poorest people and people of color. The important report released by the International Energy Agency in November underscores the urgency of the challenge – 5 years to make significant changes to reduce emissions.

Although initiatives like the ACUPCC are growing in recognition and success, national and international progress has fallen short. This short video says it all.  Anjali Appadurai, a student at the College of the Atlantic in Maine, addressed the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa the conference on behalf of youth delegates.  Her words spark the powerful feelings of impatience felt by the youth of the world, and those in developing countries who are in desperate need of funding for adaptation against the already damaging impacts of climate change.

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The latest issue of DownEast Magazine includes a great article called An Education in Green Living about education for sustainability efforts going on at Maine’s colleges and universities.

The article notes that fifteen Maine institutions have signed the ACUPCC – that’s about half of all of Maine’s the colleges and universities, and they represent about 75% of the students in the state.

The following schools are highlighted in the article (listed here with links to their pages on the ACUPCC reporting system): Unity College, College of the Atlantic, Bowdoin College, University of Maine, University of Maine at Presque Isle, Colby College, and the University of Southern Maine.

The article highlights Unity’s solar road trip, UM Presque Isle’s wind turbine, Bowdoin’s LEED certified hockey rink, UMaine’s Climate Change Institute, COA’s Sustainable Business Program, and many other exciting initiatives going on in the State.  Read the full article here.

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In addition to their innovative campus green building, renewable energy projects, and sustainable agricultural practices, all 10 colleges named in US News & World Report’s list of Eco Friendly College Campuses have something in common: they’re all signatories of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC).

10 Eco Friendly College Campuses - US News & World Reportclick to view the US News & World Report slideshow

View these signatory schools’ ACUPCC profiles by visiting the ACUPCC Reporting System:

  1. Warren Wilson College
  2. University of Colorado at Boulder
  3. Ithaca College
  4. The Evergreen State College
  5. University of New Hampshire, Durham
  6. University of California, Santa Barbara
  7. College of the Atlantic
  8. Arizona State University
  9. University of California, Santa Cruz
  10. Middlebury College

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by Rima Mulla, Communications Associate, Second Nature

In tandem with the dedication of its Shi Center for Sustainability earlier this month, Furman University hosted a panel discussion entitled “Greening Our World: Sustainable Colleges, Corporations, and Communities.” It was moderated by New York Times environmental reporter Andrew Revkin and, in addition to former New Jersey Governor and EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman, featured four Second Nature board members:

George Bandy, Jr., Vice President for Sustainability Strategy and Diversity at InterfaceFLOR
David Hales
, President of the College of the Atlantic
Nilda Mesa
, Assistant Vice President for Environmental Stewardship at Columbia University
David Shi
, President of Furman University

The absorbing discussion kicks off with Revkin asking each panelist to define sustainability. Here are some excerpts from their answers:

“It’s 21st century common sense. It’s the 21st century version of not eating your seed crop.” –David Hales

“As a business, Interface has decided to take the approach that it’s no longer okay for us to privatize the wealth and socialize the risk.” –George Bandy

“To be able to provide for the needs of the present without compromising the needs of the future.” –Nilda Mesa (paraphrasing the Brundtland Commission‘s definition)

“It’s how to live today to ensure tomorrow. Paraphrasing the Native American saying, we don’t inherit the earth from our ancestors – we borrow it from our children.” –Christine Todd Whiteman

“Sustainability is a value that should penetrate virtually all of our endeavors […] It’s the pursuit of happiness… but in ways that think about the future’s opportunity for happiness, rather than just our own.” –David Shi

Watch the entire panel here.

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While the US government and the global community have been slow to address severe climate disruption, colleges and universities are stepping in to boldly slash their carbon emissions, research and develop new technologies, and prepare students to create a safer, clean energy economy.

According to a new annual report (PDF) released today by the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), the participating schools are working to cut a combined estimated 33+ million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year.  The ACUPCC, launched in early 2007, is currently comprised of 677 schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia – representing nearly six million students and about one third of the US higher education student population.

David Shi, President of Furman University and Co-Chair of the ACUPCC, noted, “Sustainability is one of the few enterprises that fosters collaboration among institutions.  That so many schools have embraced the climate commitment is unprecedented.  Such bold action on such a broad scale provides a model for the rest of society to emulate.”

Recently, more than 300,000 individuals called their Senators as part of a coordinated effort promoted by dozens of advocacy groups urging the US government to pass comprehensive climate legislation.  But the higher education sector is not waiting for uncertain government action.

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