It has been a little while since I’ve provided an update on American Public University System’s (APUS) sustainability efforts. There seems no better time to do so than Earth Day. Despite my lack of updates on this blog, the APUS Sustainability Committee has been working diligently and partnering with other groups on campus to promote sustainability and make APUS a greener place to work and learn.
In celebration of Earth Day, and in the spirit of giving more than just one day to the consideration of our planet and our impact on it, this is the first in a series of articles which I’ll post this week and into next related to sustainability in higher education.
In September 1962 Rachel Carson published her groundbreaking work, Silent Spring, documenting the negative impact of pesticides on the environment, specifically on birds.
On July 21st, the APUS Sustainability Committee hosted its First Annual Sustainability Summit. Since September 2007 when I signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), the APUS Sustainability Committee has been working diligently to find ways to reduce the school’s carbon footprint.
The event was an opportunity to share ideas for promoting sustainability within higher education and within the communities in which college campuses are situated.
It has been a while since I have written about APUS’ green initiatives but after spending several days at the Education Innovation Summit at Arizona State University’s SkySong Center, I was inspired to provide an update. ASU is a founding signer of the American College and University President’s Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) and the school’s President, Michael Crow, has made sustainability a priority for ASU.
Last month, I posted an article about APUS’ groundbreaking ceremony at the site on which we will build a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certified building. Wes Holmes, an APUS student pursuing a Masters of Environmental Policy and Management, requested to do a project to document the construction of the building. To that end, he has established a blog under the guidance of his Program Director, Dr.
Earlier this year, the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) released a publication called Boldly Sustainable: Hope and Opportunity for Higher Education in the Age of Climate Change. Written by Peter Bardaglio, senior fellow at Second Nature, and Andrea Putnam, Director of Sustainability Financing at Second Nature, the book provides a compelling argument for colleges and universities to fully explore the opportunities and business implications of pursuing sustainable business models and integrating the topic of sustainability as a core component of student curriculums.
President Obama has clearly stated his intention to “green up” America. The cap and trade program is one of the ways in which he plans to oversee the greening of America. The program has received mixed reviews from economic and environmental experts and only time will tell if the initiative will provide meaningful differences in the fight against climate change in an economically feasible manner.
Sustainability has become an increasingly discussed topic in the United States, particularly with the initiatives proposed by the Obama Administration. During his campaign for the White House, President Obama made it clear that sustainable initiatives would be one of his top priorities. His assertion that the development of his “green economy” would create 5 million jobs has been debated by analysts of varying persuasions (see my recent blog article for a more thorough discussion of this debate) but nonetheless speaks to his belief that America cannot continue indefinitely with the practices of the past.
From the earliest days of the most recent presidential election, President Obama made it clear that one of his highest priorities if elected would be addressing climate change, energy consumption and the economy. It seems that within the first several months of taking office, President Obama has remained dedicated to those priorities. More recently, he maintains that he has found a single solution that will address all three problems: the development of a “green economy.”
Today is Earth Day and as the urgency of the climate change problem looms heavily over the entire world, it is a day that should not go without notice. This year’s Earth Day represents the beginning of a two-year initiative called the Green Generation Campaign. The campaign was established in the same spirit as the “Greatest Generation” that met the challenges facing the world in the years during and following the conclusion of World War II; individuals working together to create meaningful change in the fight to slow and halt climate change.