February 23, 2007

Climate Commitment U

Well, I just found out what my next column will be about:

The American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment is a high-visibility effort to address global warming by garnering institutional commitments to neutralize greenhouse gas emissions, and to accelerate the research and educational efforts of higher education to equip society to re-stabilize the earth’s climate.

Building on the growing momentum for leadership and action on climate change, the Presidents Climate Commitment provides a framework and support for America’s colleges and universities to go climate neutral. The Commitment recognizes the unique responsibility that institutions of higher education have as role models for their communities and in training the people who will develop the social, economic and technological solutions to reverse global warming.

Presidents signing the Commitment are pledging to eliminate their campuses’ greenhouse gas emissions over time. This involves:

  • Completing an emissions inventory
  • Within two years, setting a target date and interim milestones for becoming climate neutral.
  • Taking immediate steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by choosing from a list of short-term actions.
  • Integrating sustainability into the curriculum and making it part of the educational experience.
  • Making the action plan, inventory and progress reports publicly available.

    I wonder if Gibralter and company would put themselves on the spot like that. They are currently slashing and burning a large portion of the forest across the street from me to found a new technology center and plan to demolish two of the larger buildings on campus within the next decade to build a new student union and a mass comm building. Don't get me wrong; FSU needs these sort of advancements to keep up in the higher ed market. But does progress always have to come at the cost of the environment? It might be interesting to talk about alternatives...

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