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2013 Second Nature Climate Leadership Awards

Recognizing Innovation and Excellence in Climate Leadership at Signatory Institutions of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment

Second Nature is pleased to announce the following institutions as Finalists for the 2013 Second Nature Climate Leadership Awards.

2013-SNCLA-Finalist

Finalists were chosen from an outstanding pool of peer institutions, based on their commitment to climate and sustainability leadership and successful implementation of related programs, education, and partnerships.  The full criteria can be found here.

The Climate Leadership Awards highlight campus innovation and climate leadership to transition society to a clean, just, and sustainable future. Finalists are chosen from ACUPCC signatory institutions in good standing via a nomination process.  This year marks the fourth annual Climate Leadership Awards. Finalists will advance to be considered for a 2013 Award.

2013 Finalists for Institutional Excellence in Climate Leadership

  • Associate Colleges
    Bellevue College, WA
    Glendale Community College, AZ
    Saint Louis Community College at Florissant Valley, MO
    University of Hawaii Kauai Community College, HI
  • Baccalaureate College
    Carleton College, MN
    Hobart and William Smith Colleges, NY
    Middlebury College, VT
    Oberlin College, OH
  • Master’s Granting Institutions
    American Public University System, WV
    Chatham University, PA
    Goddard College, VT
    Western State Colorado University, CO
  • Doctorate Granting Institutions
    Georgia Institute of Technology, GA
    Indiana State University, IN
    Missouri University of Science & Technology, MO
    Portland State University, OR
    State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, NY
  • Special Focus Institutions
    Massachusetts Maritime Academy, MA
    Pratt Institute of Art & Design, NY
    University of Massachusetts Medical School, MA

In partnership with Planet Forward, all finalists will be featured in a public voting competition during April 2013, where viewers can vote on the most innovative and ground-breaking institution in each Carnegie Classification. Campuses with the top votes at the end of April will be featured in a variety of media opportunities.

Watch 2012 Finalists videos produced by Carleton CollegePratt Institute of Art & Design, and many others, on the Planet Forward site. Glendale Community College, Goddard College, and the Georgia Institute of Technology were also Finalists in the 2012 awards competition.

For more information about the Second Nature Climate Leadership Awards: http://secondnature.org/awards/

View 2012 Climate Leadership Award Recipients
View 2012 Climate Leadership Award Finalists
View 2011 Climate Leadership Award Recipients
View 2010 Climate Leadership Award Recipients

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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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The ACUPCCBy David W. Orr, Paul Sears Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies and Politics and Senior Adviser to the President, Oberlin College
(This article appears in the October, 2011 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)

Adapted from the Oberlin Alumni Magazine, Fall 2011

Historian Geoff Blodgett once wrote that “Oberlin has always been preoccupied with the moral issues of the day.” That legacy is evident, notably, in Oberlin’s leadership in race-blind admissions and co-education. In the 21st century moral issues will be far more daunting and difficult than ever before, but mendacity, confusion, evasion, and paralysis are rampant in high places. In the summer of 2009 the College reconceptualized and joined four otherwise disparate objectives as an overarching initiative, the Oberlin Project. In affiliation with the City, we aim to revitalize the local economy, eliminate carbon emissions, restore local agriculture and forestry, and use the entire effort as an educational laboratory applicable in virtually every discipline.

The specific responsibilities of the College in the Project are those primarily of providing the leadership required to conceptualize and launch the effort, rebuilding the Green Arts District as the primary economic engine for the downtown economy, and eliminating its own carbon emissions—a goal to which it is committed as an early signatory to the Presidents’ Climate Commitment (2006) and as one of 19 members of the Clinton Climate Initiative’s Climate Positive Program (2010). The larger effort will be driven by partnerships between the City, the College, private investors, local corporations, and regional development agencies. It will be funded in the decade ahead by a combination of private investment, state funding, new market tax credits, federal support, philanthropy, and savings from increased efficiency in the use of energy, materials, and water.

Signing the ACUPCC in 2006 helped create the vital support within the College for the larger City and College collaboration to eliminate carbon emissions. The leadership of Second Nature nationally has created the conditions in which colleges and universities can play a leading role the transition to “full-spectrum sustainability” at an urban and even regional scale.

We have a useful model for the Oberlin Project in the creation of the Adam Joseph Lewis Center. Begun in 1995, we aimed to build the first substantially green building in higher education as the home for the fledgling Environmental Studies Program. Sixteen years later the Lewis Center is widely acknowledged as the best environmental studies facility in higher education and home to the best environmental studies program anywhere. Among other awards, it has been acknowledged as “one of thirty milestone buildings in the 20th Century” by the U.S. Department of Energy, and in a 2010 survey published in the AIA magazine Architect as “the most important green building of the last 30 years.”

With that example as background, what would it mean for Oberlin once again to step forward and how would that actually transform the College and the City? Turn your imagination loose . . .

Imagine Oberlin in the year 2025 with a vibrant 24/7 downtown featuring local foods, arts, and music, powered by energy efficiency and sunlight. Imagine arriving from Hopkins airport on a light-rail coming through a 20,000 acre greenbelt of farms and forests that terminates close to a new, deep green hotel with a cuisine featuring local foods. Imagine a Green Arts District in which great College strengths in music, the arts, and drama are joined to those in the sciences as the backdrop for performances, exhibitions, lectures, and an ongoing conversation on the most important issues on the human agenda, all having to do with whether and how civilization might endure and flourish in radically altered biophysical conditions.

Look deeper and you’ll discover an economy designed for the future, with thriving local businesses that provide renewable energy, foods, materials, and services sustainably; a city with the lowest unemployment and poverty rates of any mid-western city; a college curriculum founded on the thoroughly liberal belief that no student in any field should graduate without knowing how the Earth works as a physical system and why that is important for their lives and careers.

Where are we now?

Despite great national progress in areas of racial and gender equality, issues of justice are becoming more complicated and portentous than anyone could have imagined in 1833. We’ve entered what the editors of the New York Times and The Economist have called the “Anthropocene,” an age when the actions of seven billion humans have become, for better or worse, the dominant force changing the Earth. The most important fact in that transition is the permanent and global effects of our burning fossil fuels. We are not just warming the Earth, but progressively destabilizing virtually everything on the planet. So far this year—in the U.S. alone—we have experienced record heat and drought from Arizona to Florida; unprecedented floods in the Mississippi Valley; wildfires in Arizona and Texas larger than any in recorded memory; and swarms of tornadoes across the South unequaled in numbers and destruction. Welcome to the Anthropocene!

An Oberlin Response

One difference between the issues of justice at our founding and those ahead has to do with the longevity and complexity of the problem. Carbon dioxide (CO2) from the combustion of fossil fuels will stay in the atmosphere for thousands of years and so cast a long and deepening shadow over all future generations and over the entire web of life on which they will depend. We are now in the rapids of human history. The Oberlin Project is an effort by the City and College to create an integrated response to these challenges. It is an umbrella term that includes six concrete and very practical goals:

(1) Develop a 13-acre Green Arts District at the US Green Building Council Platinumnd level as the main driver for community economic revitalization.

(2) Create new business ventures in energy efficiency and solar deployment, food and agriculture, and the sustainable use of local resources.

(3) Shift the City and College to renewable energy sources, radically improve efficiency, sharply reduce our carbon emissions, and improve our economy in the process.

(4) Establish a 20,000-acre greenbelt and develop a robust local foods economy to meet at least half of our consumption.

(5) Create an educational alliance between the College, the Oberlin schools, the Joint Vocational School, and Lorain County Community College focused on education appropriate to issues of sustainability.

(6) Replicate the Project at varying scales and in different regions through a national network of diverse communities and organizations with similar goals.

Our intention is to integrate these goals in a way that each of the parts reinforces the prosperity, resilience, and health of the larger community. To that end we have organized the community into working teams including economic development, education, energy, policy, agriculture, community, and data collection and analysis.

How far have we come?

Since the launch in the summer of 2009, we have:

  • Raised $8M in grants, gifts, and commitments from fourteen foundations and individual donors;
  • Organized the community into 10 teams working on issues of energy, education, policy, civic engagement, economic development etc.
  • Established a “Friends of the Oberlin Project” group with a goal of raising $5M over the next five years;
  • Signed a power purchase agreement to deploy 2MW of solar electricity;
  • Organized a faculty team to track economic, social, and physical data and provide community-scale, real-time feedback with Lucid Design, Inc. (a company founded by Oberlin students and faculty);
  • Completed a $1.1M DOE funded study on the regional transition to energy efficiency and renewable energy;
  • Established a downtown office in the East College Street complex—a $17M LEED-gold facility created by three former Oberlin students;
  • Hired a managing director, Bryan Stubbs, who has assumed responsibility for day-to-day management of the project, including integration of the 10 community teams and development of a website and communications plan;
  • Created a website and larger communications strategy for the Project.

In addition, the College has completed a $12M LEED-gold renovation of the Allen Memorial Art Museum which anchors the northwest corner of the Green Arts District.

The City, in turn, has adopted an energy plan that will eliminate 85 percent of utility carbon emissions from electrical generation by 2014 along with a partnership with the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation to improve energy efficiency throughout the community. The Oberlin School District has authorized BNIM Architects to draft a conceptual study for a new, green, consolidated public school building north of the Green Arts District.

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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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The Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative (TCCPI) continues to accelerate progress towards climate neutrality and sustainability on a regional basis in and around Ithaca, NY. With three ACUPCC signatory institutions – Cornell University, Ithaca College, and Tompkins Cortland Community College – and a concentration of leading businesses, NGO’s, and government agencies, the coalition is developing and implementing innovative solutions.

Recent activities include:

  • Co-sponsored with the Ithaca Downtown Alliance and the Park Foundation a public lecture in early May by David Orr on the Oberlin project – standing room only crowd at the county library!
  • Co-Sponsored with the Cayuga Medical Center a luncheon the following day with about 3 dozen community leaders with David Orr to discuss how the lessons of Oberlin might apply to downtown redevelopment in Ithaca
  • Collaborated with the Tompkins County Landlords Association to carry out a survey of landlords in the county about energy efficiency and barriers to more widespread investment in this area of property management. Results were presented at the July meeting.
  • Co-sponsored the summer rollout of the Cornell Cooperative Extension, Tompkins County Energy Corps, which includes 15 students from Cornell and Ithaca College conducting energy audits and sharing information about energy efficiency as well as state and federal incentives.
  • County planning officials presented a draft of the County’s 2020 Energy Action Plan at the May meeting and received feedback from the group. A very substantive discussion that helped refine the county’s thinking.
  • Gary Stewart, assistant director of community relations for Cornell University, has taken leadership of newly formed TCCPI outreach working group which will seek to raise the profile of TCCPI in the community as well as outside it.
  • Kicked off what will be an ongoing discussion of the impact of Marcellus Shale drilling on greenhouse gas emissions with outstanding presentations by Cornell professors Tony Ingraffea and Bob Howarth.
  • New members of the coalition since February include HOLT Architects, Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services, and Tompkins County Solid Waste.
  • The Park Foundation renewed TCCPI’s funding for another two years with a 20 percent increase beginning July 1

TCCPI is a program of Second Nature, coordinated by senior fellow Peter Bardaglio, former Provost of Ithaca College and co-author of Boldly Sustainable. For more information on the program, its history, and its goals, please visit: www.tccpi.org.

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by Josh Viertel, President, Slow Food USA®
(This article appears in the April, 2010 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)

The ACUPCCWe are what we eat. Human beings are made of food. Yet we rarely stop to appreciate where our food comes from, how it was grown or why we’re putting it into our bodies. And if we do ask those questions, we often find it difficult to figure out how our food choices affect our health, our impact on those who grow our food, our environment and how much we enjoy our daily lives.

But there’s a movement afoot to change all of that. There’s a vision being formed of a world where everyone has healthy food and every farm is a healthy business. Slow Food USA is a non-profit organization working within that movement. We help everyday people connect with each other and use the power of their community to create a healthier local food system.

You can join the movement by becoming a member of Slow Food USA. Our network has more than 150,000 members and supporters across the country, organized into 225 volunteer-led chapters. Together, those chapters are working to transform food and farm policy, industry practices and consumer demand to ensure equity, sustainability and pleasure in the food we eat.

This is a big task, obviously. Success is going to take passion, dedication and collaboration on the part of millions of citizens who all believe in change. And many of the citizens leading the way – no surprise – are college students.

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