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By Glenn Cummings, Deputy Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of Education
(This article appears in the July, 2010 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)

The ACUPCC

“Education is not widely regarded as a problem, although the lack of it is.  The conventional wisdom holds that all education is good, and the more of it one has, the better…. The truth is that without significant precautions, education can equip people merely to be more effective vandals of the Earth.” – David Orr (1994)

If, in fact, the survival of the earth hinges on a race between disaster and education, then certainly American higher education holds a key to that outcome. As the Union of Concerned Scientists underscores, few issues signal potential disaster more pointedly than rapidly accumulating carbon emissions (and its multiple impacts).

As colleges and universities throughout the country accept their collective responsibility for educating the next generation in an idea loosely called “sustainability,” the mission of becoming better stewards of the earth has expanded on American college campuses. In recent years, top-level officials at these institutions have called for institution-wide commitments to a more “sustainable” relationship with our natural environment.

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