250 campuses commit to climate neutrality
The Campus Climate Challenge has wrapped up its first year of student activity, pushing college campuses to become models for a clean energy revolution to stop global warming.
Students on over 575 college and high school campuses across the United States and Canada organized events this past semester, calling for immediate solutions to deal with the potentially devastating impact of climate change caused by global warming.
“Colleges and universities have a special role to play in moving society forward to stop global warming and switching to clean and renewable energy sources,” says Jessy Tolkan, campaign director for the Campus Climate Challenge. “The work that students are engaging in through the challenge is setting the standard for providing real solutions to the climate crisis.”
Two hundred and fifty presidents of colleges and universities have signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment. Presidents signing the commitment are pledging to eliminate their campuses’ greenhouse gas emissions over time.
“Youth understand that climate change is an immediate threat that demands creative and practical solutions,” said Jay Heeter, co-chair of the National Association of Environmental Law Societies. “Students of all kinds, from grade school to law school, have a role to play in what is shaping up to be the defining challenge of our generation.”
“As with past progressive social movements, young people are now leading the charge to transform the way we produce and consume energy, providing real solutions to global warming,” says Jared Duval, national director of the Sierra Student Coalition. “Our future depends on bold, comprehensive action to end our addiction to fossil fuels and we will continue to provide the leadership necessary to make that happen.”
The challenge is a three-year campaign of the Energy Action Coalition to unite students to win 100 percent clean energy policies on their campuses.
Organizers say the effort is designed to build a presence on targeted campuses where large numbers of students can be engaged and activated to help achieve quick campus victories and to build a long-term organizing structure. By working together in partnership with students to reduce the carbon emissions of their campuses down to zero, the challenge helps to provide real world models for other students, elected officials, corporate leaders and the public for how to stop global warming now. Over the longer term, the challenge will help to develop the next generation of political and corporate leaders who will shape future policy debates about global warming and climate change.
“Rising to the Climate Challenge: Visions of Our Future,” a week-long series of actions coordinated by the Campus Climate Challenge, began the events. The week of action coincided with the release of the Intergovernmental Panel Climate Change report, stating that man-made activities are a leading cause of greenhouse gas emissions. An estimated 50,000 students were reached during this week.
For more on the Campus Climate Challenge or to read the pledge, visit www.presidentsclimatecommitment.org/html/commitment.php.
To see the list of signatories, visit www.presidentsclimatecommitment.org/html/signatories.php.