Second Nature Blog Newsletter

Highlighting the Role of Students as Key Stakeholders in Campus Sustainability: A Statewide Multi-system Conference Approach

March 5, 2013

By Olivier Sinoncelli, Event Coordinator and LEED Project Intern, UCSB and Katie Maynard, Event Manager, CHESC  (This article appears in the February, 2013 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)

The California Higher Education Sustainability Conference (CHESC) presents an exciting model for encouraging and expanding student leadership in statewide and local partnerships.  The event is organized by all four systems of higher  education in California: The University of California, California State University, California Community College, and private colleges. Last year it was attended by over 1,000 people (including 200 speakers) representing almost 90 campuses! This year, it will be hosted once again by the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) was the first institution to host the conference twelve years ago, and both the UCSB Sustainability Program and the conference have grown tremendously since. There are over 30 student organizations at UCSB that relate to environmental stewardship. Additionally, students are active on and off campus teaching at risk youth in the community about energy efficiency and sustainability, helping departments and businesses to be green certified, and working with campus foundations on socially responsible investment policies. CHESC provides these active students with the opportunity to meet head-honchos, to be recognized for their work, and to take an active role  in steering sustainable action in campuses throughout California.  The conference also presents students with many unique opportunities to become active and engaged stakeholders in their respective fields.

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Unity College Participates in Forward On Climate Rally

March 5, 2013

By Sass Linneken, Environmental Writing & Media student at Unity College
(This article appears in the March, 2013 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)

What a feeling it is to be a student at Unity College, the first college to divest from dirty fossil fuels, and the type of college where over 30 students are joined by their faculty and President (Stephen Mulkey) to walk the talk at the Forward on Climate rally in Washington, D.C. National Academy of Sciences worldwide agree that climate change is happening and that it's a result of human consumption - going to D.C. to oppose the climate-killing Keystone XL tar sands project was probably one of the most memorable experiences I'll ever have as a college student, and as an American citizen. I went to Washington D.C. because I have children and want them to experience a livable world, a world that can only exist with a stable climate. Extraction of tar sands oil emits three times as many greenhouse gases as extraction of conventional crude, this would tip our climate system past the point of no return. I also went because if my college can do its part to try and break the cycle of dirty energy by sustainable financial investments, I can certainly do mine by investing my time into doing what is right for future generations.

Oregon Tech’s Student Led Clean Energy Forum

March 5, 2013

By Greg Stephens, Vice President of Marketing, Tech-Owls in Action (This article appears in the March, 2013 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)

Tech-Owls in Action (TOA) is Oregon Tech’s Renewable Energy Leadership Club, focused on furthering the ‘green energy’ movement through the engineering of clean energy solutions. TOA launched in fall 2012 during the first term at Oregon Tech’s new, consolidated Wilsonville campus. After we delegated member roles we set out to coordinate a Forum-to-Action. Forums-to-Action (F2A)is a program developed by Focus the Nationto guide students, through open dialogue, toward effective energy-based projects best-suited for their talents and communities. TOA extended the F2A opportunity to the Wilsonville community in order to have a more inclusive public forum. This not only allowed us to engage with the local community, but the Tech-Owls would also get to work toward projects that the people of Wilsonville could feel connected to. We named our forum “Clean Energy: Connecting our Community.”

The Beauty of Net-Zero Energy Infrastructure: Lessons from History, Actions Today, and Dreams for the Future

March 5, 2013

Andrea Putman

By Andrea Putman, Director of Corporate Partnerships, Second Nature
(This post originally appeared in the March 5, 2013 AASHE Bulletin)

As we connect the dots from ancient history to the distant future, we envision and hope for a clean and safe future for our grandchildren’s grandchildren. Sustainability professionals work diligently so that our posterity will look back at these days of the early 21st century and be pleased that their ancestors had wisdom, courage, tenacity, and imagination to overcome the huge obstacles of fast speeding and hard charging climate disruption. By honoring the ancient wisdom of our ancestors and working to protect the future occupants of our planet, our strong actions and passion may stand the tests of time. Although net-zero energy buildings currently represent a minuscule percentage of our nation’s infrastructure, they represent a hope for our descendants.

Second Nature Partners for Free Webinar Series on National Climate Assessment

March 1, 2013

By: Sarah Brylinsky, Director of Climate Resilience & Educational Programs, Second Nature
SSF LogoSecond Nature
 and the Security & Sustainability Forum are convening a free webinar series on the Third National Climate Assessment (NCA), released in draft form in January 2013. Written by hundreds of leading scientists and experts from academia, government, and private and non-profit sector authors, the NCA is a powerful tool for understanding, teaching, planning for, and adapting to climate change.  

This webinar series will address findings, recommendations, and implications of the NCA, with an emphasis on multi-sector responsibility and collaboration potential. To learn more about this series, visit our webinar series page.

At United Tribes Technical College Recycling Program Supports Sustainability

February 7, 2013

By Dennis J. Neumann, Public Information Director, United Tribes Technical College
(This article appears in the February, 2013 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer and was originally published in the December/January 2013 edition of United Tribes News)

ACUPCC ImplementerUnited Tribes Technical College used National Sustainability Day, October 24, to raise awareness and boost participation in the college’s recycling program. For a number of years campus departments have recycled paper and plastic under the leadership of a small but committed group of faculty members. Two years ago, interest in sustainability grew when United Tribes President David M. Gipp signed theAmerican College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC). The document outlines concerns about global climate change and offers methods for higher education institutions to model ways of minimizing the effects, showing leadership and integrating sustainability on campuses around the country. Institutions that sign-on commit their best efforts to pursue climate neutrality: By developing an institutional plan; initiating action to reduce greenhouse gases; and publicly reporting progress reports to the ACUPCC Reporting System.

Green Committee

Bowie State University’s Partnership With The Toyota Green Initiative: A University’s Path Toward Sustainability

February 7, 2013

By Jacqueline J. Palmer, Facilities Coordinator, Bowie State University
(This article appears in the February, 2013 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)

Bowie State University has undertaken several endeavors to go “green” and increase its sustainability through its Climate Control Commitment Committee (C4), not the least of which is its partnership with the Toyota Green Initiative to foster sustainable living and thinking among its students. The Toyota Green Initiative (TGI) is an environmental stewardship platform designed to empower Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) students and alumni on the benefits of adopting a sustainable lifestyle. The success of a Bowie State University and TGI partnership is predicated on both entities’ keen focus on a partnership supported by engaged leadership, which in turn will foster enhanced sustainability awareness at Bowie State University.

By its nature a sustainable lifestyle necessitates a change in mindset, thus the acceptance of sustainability practices as routine requires leadership intervention and engagement. Further, the partnership will be foundational for fostering green practices targeting students, faculty and staff at the university. It is within this vein that the launch of the TGI was held during the 2010 Homecoming at Bowie State University, the first stop in a cross-country HBCU tour through a partnership with the CIAA and the BET Black College Tour.

Increased Staff Capacity to Support ACUPCC Implementation at MSIs

February 7, 2013

By Jairo Garcia, Kresge Implementation Fellow, Second Nature
(This article appears in the February, 2013 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)

My name is Jairo Garcia and I am thrilled to be part of the Second Nature team as the ACUPCC Implementation Fellow. My primary responsibilities are to assist and support Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) and Under-Resourced Institutions (URIs) signatories of the ACUPCC to advance your institution’s commitment to carbon neutrality, implement sustainability practices in curricular initiatives and support your community partnerships. Also joining the Second Nature team is Axum Teferra. Axum is the ACUPCC Membership and Engagement Fellow, and will be sharing responsibilities in providing implementation support. Our positions were made possible by The Kresge Foundation through Second Nature’s “Sustainability Leadership, Capacity Building and Diversity Initiative”.

SEED Center Mentor Connect Project Report

February 7, 2013

By Candy Center, SEED Center Consultant and Todd Cohen, Director of the SEED Center (This article appears in the February, 2013 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)

ACUPCC ImplementerThe American Association of Community Colleges’ SEED Center Mentor Connect program pairs best-in-class green colleges with “mentee” colleges in an effort to more swiftly enhance programs that prepare students for careers in clean energy and green fields.

Enlightening and Empowering: REN21's Global Futures Report on Renewables

January 16, 2013

by David Hales, President, Second Nature

The opening words of the Renewables Global Futures Report, “The future of renewable energy is fundamentally a choice, not a foregone conclusion given technology and economic trends”, are music to the ears of any educator.

At our best, we teach that the fundamental goal of sustainability is the freedom to choose our own future, and that education at its most essential is about creating the capacity to make wise choices.

The Renewable Energy Network for the 21st Century, and report author, Eric Martinot, have created a report that is enlightening and empowering. It provides both context and perspective on one of the most critical aspects of the transition to sustainability.

When we founded REN21 following the Bonn Conference on Renewable Energy of 2004, we were convinced that clean, abundant, predictable, and affordable renewable energy was necessary to fuel societies that aspire to being sustainable, stable, and just. We knew the promise was real, and we all underestimated how rapidly it would be realized.

In 2004, global investment in new renewable energy capacity hovered around $40 billion; in 2011 it exceeded $260 billion – more than the new investment in fossil fuels and nuclear energy combined. China, a renewable energy backwater in 2004 is the global leader. Most of the new power capacity added each year in Europe is from renewables.

The purpose of this report is not to predict the future. It is to give substance to the range of choice which is ours. It is a composite picture of the possible.

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2013 Climate Leadership Award Finalists Announced

January 14, 2013

2013 Second Nature Climate Leadership Awards

Recognizing Innovation and Excellence in Climate Leadership at Signatory Institutions of the American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment

Second Nature is pleased to announce the following institutions as Finalists for the 2013 Second Nature Climate Leadership Awards. 2013-SNCLA-Finalist Finalists were chosen from an outstanding pool of peer institutions, based on their commitment to climate and sustainability leadership and successful implementation of related programs, education, and partnerships.  The full criteria can be found here. The Climate Leadership Awards highlight campus innovation and climate leadership to transition society to a clean, just, and sustainable future. Finalists are chosen from ACUPCC signatory institutions in good standing via a nomination process.  This year marks the fourth annual Climate Leadership Awards. Finalists will advance to be considered for a 2013 Award. 2013 Finalists for Institutional Excellence in Climate Leadership

Scenarios for Climate Assessment and Adaptation

January 10, 2013

by David Hales, President, Second Nature

As we move toward the release of the 2013 United States National Climate Assessment, various background resources used in the process are becoming available. I think this material is the richest, clearest, and best documented information available – and user friendly. I’ll post links to the Assessment when it becomes available. Feel free to share this reference material widely.

The link below will take you to and provide information about a suite of climate and other scenarios produced as input to the U.S. National Climate Assessment. There are documents, graphics, references to data sets, and other resources that have been prepared to depict a range of plausible future conditions against which risks, vulnerability, and opportunities can be assessed at regional and national scale.

In addition to providing input to the National Climate Assessment, these scenarios are designed to be useful to a variety of other users including researchers, technical report teams, and decision makers. Over the next several years, we expect to evolve the scenarios to keep them up to date and make them as user friendly as possible, in support of the ongoing assessment process.

Minority-serving Institution Signatories to the ACUPCC Strengthen Curriculum Component of their Climate Action Plans by Offering AMS Climate Studies

December 4, 2012

By James Brey, Director, AMS Education Program & Elizabeth Mills, Associate Director, AMS Education Program

(This article appears in the December, 2012 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)

There has never been such a critical need for educating today’s undergraduates on Earth’s changing climate and pathways to sustainability.  The footprints of climate change surround us – Arctic sea ice reached its record lowest extent in August 2012, the 10 warmest years in the global climate record have occurred since 1997, and global sea level continues to rise (1). Climate change is also predicted to increase the frequency of extreme weather events, which combined with sea-level rise, may lead to more natural disasters such as Superstorm Sandy (123).

It is imperative to develop a scientific workforce ready to tackle the challenge of climate change in light of the new energy economy and various societal and political factors. The National Science Foundation (NSF) underscores the need for increasing public literacy in the Earth System Sciences, including climate science literacy, and preparing a highly skilled scientific workforce reflecting the nation’s diversity (45).

The University of Maine’s Integrative Graduate Education & Research Traineeship (IGERT) Focused on Adaptation to Abrupt Climate Change

December 4, 2012

By Misa Saros, A2C2 IGERT Program Coordinator, University of Maine

(This article appears in the December, 2012 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)

The University of Maine has launched a new National Science Foundationsponsored Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) – the first of its kind to focus explicitly on adaptation to abrupt climate change (A2C2).  The A2C2 IGERT is a partnership between theClimate Change Institute (CCI) and the School of Policy and International Affairs (SPIA) and is focused on the need to adapt environmental policies and management strategies to meet the social and ecological challenges caused by abrupt climate change events.  The program is funded by a five-year, $3 million award from the National Science Foundation, and will support the research of 24 Ph.D. students in Earth sciences, ecology, economics, anthropology and archaeology. Their research will focus on the effects of abrupt climate change on global security, ecosystem sustainability, and the integrity of economic, social, political and ideological systems.

IGEN Career Pathways: Preparing a Green Workforce

December 4, 2012

By Terri Berryman, Project Director, IGEN Career Pathways, College of Lake County

(This article appears in the December, 2012 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)

Illinois Green Economy Network (IGEN), which was formed in 2006, is a President led initiative involving all 48 community colleges in the state of Illinois.  IGEN has four main areas of focus – green campus, green communities, green curriculum and green careers.  In 2011, the College of Lake County, on behalf of the IGEN, was awarded a $19.37 million grant from the Department of Labor (DOL) as part of round one of the Trade Adjustment Act Community College Career Training (TAACCCT) grant program.  The grant, IGEN Career Pathways, brings together seventeen community colleges working as a consortium to create 31 on-line blended and hybrid degree and certificate programs in green career fields.

Basic RGBThe grant’s goals are aligned with the four priorities outlined by the DOL: to accelerate progress for low-skilled and other workers; to improve retention and achievement rates to reduce time to completion; to build programs that meet industry needs, including pathways; and to strengthen online and technology-enabled learning.  Seven strategies are being used to meet these priorities:

Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative – October-November 2012

November 22, 2012

By Peter Bardaglio, Senior Fellow, Second Nature

Welcome to the October-November 2012 issue of the TCCPI Newsletter, an electronic update from the Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative (TCCPI).

Photo Credit: Wrexie Bardaglio

Student Divestment Movement at Cornell and IC Heats Up

By K.C. Alvey, TCCPI Assistant Coordinator and 350.0rg Field Organizer

As part of a national 20-city tour called “Do the Math,” Bill McKibben, Naomi Klein, and other well-known speakers have hit the road this fall to call attention to what McKibben calls ”Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math.” As McKibben wrote in his now famous Rolling Stone article this past July, the fossil fuel industry currently has 2,795 gigatons of carbon in proven coal, oil, and gas reserves, five times more than the maximum 565 gigatons the world can emit and keep warming below 2°C, a target scientists widely agree is necessary to prevent runaway climate change.

Cornell students call on the university to divest from fossil fuels.
Photo Credit: K.C. Alvey

In the lead-up to “Do the Math,” students across the country launched fossil fuel divestment campaigns at over 30 college campuses, taking campus sustainability to the next level. Here

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Highlights from the 2012 ACUPCC Southeast Regional Collaborative Symposium

November 21, 2012

By Adrien Tofighi, Program Assistant, Second Nature

(Review the symposium agenda, or download a PDF Summary of this post).

The 2012 ACUPCC Southeast Regional Symposium took place at Agnes Scott College, November 7-8th, 2012. ACUPCC Regional Symposiums are working sessions to foster dialogue and collaboration among ACUPCC signatories who are facing similar challenges and opportunities in their geographic regions.

The conference garnered participation from 45 colleges and universities, representing states throughout the Southeast, achieving cross-institutional dialogue, knowledge exchange, and the creation of new solutions to Climate Action planning, curriculum reform, and other key issues. This conference marked the third regional symposium hosted by the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment.

David E. Shi, President Emeritus, Furman University

Opening Speakers


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