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Posts Tagged ‘posted by Georges’

by Georges Dyer, Second Nature

Last week I had the pleasure of traveling to Lima, Peru to participate in an exciting seminar with leaders from universities, government, business, and NGOs on higher education’s opportunity to lead the shift to sustainability. As is the case in most countries around the world, Peru’s energy ministries are working to take control of their energy future.  With the geopolitical issues, volatile prices, supply constraints, security threats, and imminent threat of climate disruption, we need to make fossil fuels yesterday’s energy source.  And quickly.

How to do so is of course another question – particularly when there is a need for continued economic growth and increased standards of living.  (‘developed’ countries like the US don’t need to keep growing the amount of physical through-puts in our economy to improve our quality of life, in fact I think the opposite is true, but there’s still room for such growth in Peru with 20% of the country without access to electricity and 36% living in poverty).

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College and university students across the world – but particularly those in the US, China, and India – are gearing up for some friendly competition to save the world.

Four groups – 350.org, China Youth Climate Action Network, Indian Youth Climate Network, and the Energy Action Coalition – are supporting the campaign that will run through the end of 2010.

Right now, in the first phase, the goal is to see how many campus teams they can get signed up from each country, so if you’re a college or university student, see if your campus has a team yet, and if not, start one: www.greatpowerrace.org

Later on this year, teams will earn points by implementing projects that promote clean energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

This is a critical year for ramping up action to avoid the worst impacts of climate disruption, so get involved – and good luck!

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by Georges Dyer, Senior Fellow, Second Nature

Georges DyerBill Gates gave a TED Talk last week about how if he could have just one wish it would be to get to zero carbon.  Even with all of his understanding, passion and work on the issues of health, poverty, sanitation, disease and so many of the world’s urgent and interrelated problems – his wish, if he only had one, would be to get the big innovation breakthroughs that will make clean, carbon neutral energy affordable and safe.  This is because climate disruption is the problem we face today that will make all of the other problems so much worse.

It is incredibly exciting to see the country’s colleges and universities leading the way on this push to zero.  With 667 institutions committed to publicly reporting on their progress through the ACUPCC, and many more taking very similar steps, they are driving the innovation needed, educating the leaders who can make the breakthroughs, and serving as role-models to show that we can do this in ways that make good business sense.

In the talk, Gates lays out a simple equation: CO2 = P * S  * E  * C

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by Georges Dyer, Senior Fellow, Second Nature

Georges DyerLast Friday Tony and I had the privilege of heading up to beautiful Freeport, Maine (in a Prius ZipCar, of course!) to meet with a group of college and university presidents who had gathered for a sustainability-themed meeting of the Maine Higher Education Council.

Unfortunately, we were not able to attend the full session, but we did catch a bit of Leith Sharp’s talk on Strategic Leadership for Campus Sustainability and Energy Efficiency, which was terrific.

We had a great lunch meeting with Presidents from around the state, discussing how they might work together to tackle the tough problems of climate action planning, incorporating sustainability into the educational experience of students in all disciplines in a meaningful way, and catalyzing a new kind of 21st century sustainable economic development from the higher ed sector.

Maine Higher Education Council break-out lunch November 6, 2009

From left to right: Mitch Thomashow (President, Unity College); Tony Cortese (President, Second Nature); Len Tyler (President, Maine Maritime Academy); Catherine Longley (VP of Finance and Administration, Bowdoin College); Barbara Woodley (President, Kennebec Valley Community College); Joyce Hedlund (President, Eastern Maine Community College); Sharon Kuhrt (President, Central Maine Medical Center); Theo Kalikow (President, University of Maine at Farmington); Donald Zillman (President, University of Maine at Presque Isle); Not pictured: Thom Johnston (President, New England School of Communication); Allyson Hughes Handley (University of Maine at Augusta)

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