The LACCD Sustainable Media Studio: Shooting A Green Tomorrow, Today

March 3, 2010

by Melinda Ann Farrell, Director, LACCD Sustainable Media

It’s Lights, Camera, Action at LACCD Sustainable Media, the student-led documentary studio of the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD). Armed with high definition cameras, field recording equipment, big imaginations and one of the largest public sector green building programs in the country as their subject, the talented student auteurs of the LACCD are educating and entertaining their peers on the subject of sustainability and climate neutrality, using the art of documentary filmmaking.

Producing video sustainability stories “by students, for students,” the studio’s filmmakers are turning the camera’s lens on themselves and their colleges to showcase marquee building projects campus by campus and reveal the behind-the-scenes transformation of the Los Angeles Community College District through the voices of the students, faculty, board members, administrators, architects, construction firms and community members who all contributed to the effort. The studio’s original works are posted under the Student Video gallery as well as on our Vimeo channel.

Students Release Groundbreaking Report on Sustainability Efforts at Christian Campuses

March 3, 2010

by Ben Lowe, Co-Coordinator, Renewal: Students Caring for Creation

Renewala grassroots Christian environmental network active on campuses across the United States and Canada, is proud to present the first-ever report on our growing movement: Green Awakenings: Stories of Stewardship and Sustainability from the Next Generation.

Green AwakeningsNow is a momentous time for our generation; the planet is in crisis and environmental stewardship is a biblical priority for Christians.  The purpose of Green Awakenings is to show what it looks like when Christian students and campuses come together to care for all of God’s creation.   We want to demonstrate the breadth, depth, and diversity of the growing student movement.

As I write this, I am on the way back from speaking at The Kings University College in Alberta, Canada.  Kings is one of over fifty campuses featured in the report, most of which are members of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, but only a handful of which are currently signatories to the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment.  Signatories are identified in the report by the torch logo next to their names.

Business Environmental Program Reaches Out to Help Local Businesses Become More Energy Efficient

March 3, 2010

by Sam Males, State Director for the Nevada Small Business Development Center, University of Nevada, Reno

We accomplish so much more when we forge partnerships in our communities, and that philosophy is an integral piece of our sustainability plan at the University of Nevada, Reno.

As one of the charter signatories to the ACUPCC, we have set a goal to integrate sustainable practices into everything that we do – from the way we construct our buildings, to our energy usage, to our curriculum, to our outreach mission as a land-grant institution. As part of these outreach efforts, our Nevada Small Business Development Center is offering energy-efficiency assistance to small businesses and targeted industries such as retail, food service, grocers and offices, through its Business Environmental Program.

The Center was one of just four small business development centers in the country awarded funding from the U.S. Small Business Administration last year for projects offering energy-efficiency assistance to small businesses. The award provides $125,000 a year for three years for the program.

To stretch these dollars the furthest, we have partnered with NV Energy, Nevada’s major energy provider, and KEMA Services Inc., an energy-management consulting firm, to help provide resources, training and direct assistance to businesses identifying energy-efficiency opportunities. The Nevada Division of Environmental Protection and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have also provided funding for the Center’s Business Environmental Program.

One Wish

February 23, 2010

by Georges Dyer, Senior Fellow, Second Nature

Bill 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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Second Nature Senior Fellow Georges Dyer at Unity College in Maine

February 16, 2010

by Georges Dyer, Senior Fellow, Second Nature

A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to visit Unity College – “America’s Environmental College” – in Unity, ME, where I met with about a hundred of the students in the Environmental Challenge class.

My talk – part of the Lapping Lecture Series – focused on some of the national and international trends we see in Education for Sustainability (EfS) from our perspective here at Second Nature.

I emphasized how there is a strong trend in society toward making a sustainability perspective a prerequisite for competent leadership. I described some of the steps that colleges and universities across the country are taking to ensure that our graduates are equipped with an understanding of sustainability principles so they’re not left at a competitive disadvantage when they enter the global workforce.

I focused quite a bit on the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) and the importance of both top-level commitment from the president as well as the need for leadership to emerge from all levels of the organization if institutions are going to be successful in implementing the Commitment, achieving climate neutrality, and providing the education and research needed for the rest of society to do the same.

ACUPCC Highlighted at E2's "And A Child Shall Lead Us"

February 9, 2010

by Ilana Schoenfeld, Program Associate, Second Nature

Last week, Steve Muzzy and I attended an event hosted by E2/NRDC called “And A Child Shall Lead Us: How Students and Universities Are Leading on Climate Change.”

E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs) is a national community of business leaders and professionals committed to protecting the environment in ways that build economic prosperity. NRDC’s policy and science experts work in partnership with E2 to identify critical environmental issues, key players, and strategic actions. Members of E2 are called upon to work with public officials to influence state and national policy—leveraging their business expertise to highlight the economic benefits of environmental policies.

We were thrilled to hear the work of the ACUPCC highlighted at this event. The speakers at the event included:

Green Priorities at the U.S. Department of Education

February 3, 2010

by Martha J. Kanter, Under Secretary of Education

This is an exciting time for those of us who care deeply about the role of higher education in building a more sustainable world, and I would like to express my appreciation for the work of the organizations and institutions involved with the ACUPCC.  Before joining the U.S. Department of Education as Under Secretary I served as chancellor of the Foothill – De Anza Community College District in California and was a member of the ACUPCC Steering Committee.

Martha J. KanterI understand the important work that each of you perform for your institutions every day, and would like you to know that the Department of Education is a strong leader and partner in these efforts.  We are developing a ‘Green Team’ to help facilitate environmental literacy efforts, and President Obama has placed resources in the 2011 education budget specifically to support environmental literacy.

As the Department prepares for the first ‘Green Education’ Summit this summer here in Washington, we recognize our national responsibility to promote an interchange of sustainability ideas and coordination among key stakeholders.  Better linkages among K-12 education, higher education, and the non-profit sector, as well as better federal interagency cooperation, will be essential to meeting our mutual goals. This invite-only Summit is statutorily defined by the Higher Education Act of 2008 and charges the Department of Education to help coordinate resources at a national level to improve the environmental literacy of our students and citizens. We welcome this responsibility and look forward to the work ahead.

Nine Maine Elements of a Sustainable Campus

February 3, 2010

by Jesse Pyles, Sustainability Coordinator, Unity College

Unity College in Unity, Maine is organizing its efforts according to President Mitchell Thomashow’s Nine Elements of a Sustainable Culture – as highlighted in Kyoto Publishing’s Climate Neutral Campus Report.  We’re proud to be a part of a statewide culture in higher education that values sustainability.  In fact, 75% of the college students in Maine are enrolled at ACUPCC signatory institutions (compared to 33% nationally).

At a recent retreat of the Maine Higher Education Council, presidents from around the state focused on sustainability leadership.  Maine’s 33 higher education institutions can operate as a pretty close bunch, engaging in consortia and sharing information and resources in a way that might prove difficult for college networks in other regions.  With the support of Maine’s campus executives, we’re uniquely poised to take a leadership role in the broader sustainability conversation.

Campus sustainability achievements from around Maine are highlighted here under each of President Thomashow’s Nine Elements, which fall under three headings: InfrastructureCommunity, and Learning.

Presidents Make the Case for Climate Neutrality at Council of Independent Colleges Presidents' Institute

February 3, 2010

by Richard J. Cook, President Emeritus of Allegheny College and Second Nature Education for Sustainability Fellow

In slightly over two years the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) has grown from a compelling idea into a nationwide phenomenon. Almost 700 institutions of higher learning are now ACUPCC signatories. And many others are eager to learn more about the effort. Interest in the ACUPCC was widespread at the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) annual Presidents’ Institute in early January 2010 on Marco Island, Florida.

Presidents representing four ACUPCC signatory colleges participated in a panel discussion entitled “Presidential Leadership in Climate Change and Sustainability.” President Marvalene Hughes described an inspirational commitment made by Dillard University to rebuild its campus on the principle of carbon neutrality in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.  Rosalind Reichard, president of Emory & Henry College, described the challenges of pursuing climate neutrality on a campus situated amid a coal-based economy and culture. Paul Fonteyn, president of Green Mountain College, told of his small college’s rapid journey to carbon-neutrality, and the way in which such an audacious commitment has helped galvanize the entire campus community behind a unifying ideal. For my part, I discussed my efforts to generate institution-wide engagement with the climate commitment and described the financial and branding benefits of the effort.

ACUPCC Introduces New Training and Education Program for Signatories in 2010

February 3, 2010

by Barbara Koneval, Program Associate for Training & Education, Second Nature 

Among the important resources provided by the ACUPCC are training and educational opportunities to assist signatory schools with meeting the goals of the commitment.  With more than half of the signatory colleges and universities in the process of developing their climate action plans this year, we will continue to focus our training efforts on all topics related to climate action planning in 2010. 

Your feedback from our training survey this past Fall and from the Implementation Liaison networking meetings in 2009 was integral in helping us develop a training program that meets your needs.  Based on your feedback we’ll be focusing the training program on the process of climate action planning, communicating your climate action plan, stakeholder engagement, how to compare mitigation projects, and more.

The ACUPCC will be covering these topics with both in-person workshops and online webinars throughout the year.

Our webinar topics for 2010 will address the following topics:


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