Friday, November 7, 2008

College Campuses Going Climate Neutral

Raleigh's new LEED-Registered Convention Center will host AASHE 2008

When a relatively new national organization sells out its second annual conference, you have to think they may be on to something. Such is the case for the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. AASHE 2008 has been sold out for a couple of weeks but I was lucky enough to get off the waiting list so I will be blogging from the conference starting this weekend in Raleigh, North Carolina, along with many of the other 2000 participants. Carbon offsets are being purchased to make the conference carbon neutral, including attendee travel.

Founded in 2006, AASHE is an association of colleges and universities in the U.S. and Canada formed, according to their web site, "to promote sustainability in all sectors of higher education - from governance and operations to curriculum and outreach - through education, communication, research and professional development. AASHE defines sustainability in an inclusive way, encompassing human and ecological health, social justice, secure livelihoods, and a better world for all generations."

The long list of member institutions probably contains your alma mater. Among those are over 588 whose presidents have signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Change Commitment, representing about 25% of all college students in America, with the goal of achieving climate neutral campuses. Is your college among the signatories?

Speaking climate change, The Pew Center on Climate Change has a number of excellent resources on the topic, including likely policy changes with a new administration and a new map that shows the climate initiatives in all states, by state and by initiative.

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