Universities Lead Battle to Reverse Climate Change

The University Network
By Peter Corrigan

2017.09.22-NewsFeed-TUN Campus Climate Change-IMAGE

Two years ago, at the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, 193 member states adopted the Sustainable Development Goals—17 distinct goals designed to eradicate poverty, address climate change, and build peaceful, inclusive societies for all by 2030. With the U.S. pulling out of the Paris Agreement and the recent record-breaking hurricane damage this year, climate change and sustainability will be a hot topic this week at the 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly.

In July this year, the UN issued a report noting that progress to date “is insufficient to fully meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and targets by 2030.” It also added a warning: “Time is therefore of the essence.” The report went on to note that in 2016, planetary warming set a record temperature of about 1.1 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial period, and the extent of global sea ice fell to the second lowest on record.

But it is not all doom and gloom. While the world is certainly heating up, so are the efforts taking place at university campuses to tackle climate change and make the world more sustainable. If you want to see the progress on reversing climate change and making the world more sustainable, look at our universities where sustainability advancements are made every day.

In this article, we highlight the key areas in which universities are leading the battle to reverse climate change—from their unwavering commitment, to the cutting-edge research that will help us win this battle.

Campus Recycling

A big part of reversing climate change is recycling. The more we recycle, the less energy is consumed in making new things that contribute directly to climate change. This is an area where universities have made dramatic changes and continue to improve upon, so much so that it would behoove local governments to learn from local universities around them how best to improve their own programs.

Here are some examples of recycling efforts made by universities:

  • Making Recycling a Competitive Sport.  “RecycleMania” is a green movement that started in 2001, whereby colleges compete against each other in an effort to promote recycling and waste reduction. During the competition, the participating schools report on their weekly recycling/trash volumes, and are ranked in various categories based on their recycling efforts. Since RecycleMania’s inception, millions of students from over 1,000 universities have recycled and composted roughly 730 million pounds of material, thereby preventing the release of nearly 1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (equivalent to removing 7 million cars from the road for one year).

Read the full story here.

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Sailing Team Brings Enviro Message to Global Race

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Captain/environmentalist Charlie Enright, at the helm. Photo: Courtesy of James Blake/Volvo Ocean Race

Captain/environmentalist Charlie Enright, at the helm. Photo: Courtesy of James Blake/Volvo Ocean Race

When Mark Towill and Charlie Enright met at Brown University, they were coming from two very different places but had one important thing in common.

“We’ve always shared a passion for the ocean and the wider environment. It’s been part of who we are since we were young, growing up in Hawaii and Rhode Island. The backdrops maybe have been different, but declining marine health and the effects of climate change were fast becoming evident,” says Enright.

Next month, Towill and Enright will lead the Vestas 11th Hour Racing Team as they embark on a sailing race around the world. But while there’s a laser focus on winning, there’s also a serious commitment to spreading the message of sustainability.

Sailing has only solidified the pair’s feelings about the ocean and what that means to their friends and families.

“Together, we’ve decided to take action, [to] become ambassadors for a sustainable future, working with organizations that are aligned with our vision in Vestas and 11th Hour Racing,” Enright says. “As sailors and ocean ambassadors, we’re aware of the enjoyment [the world’s oceans] can bring, as well as the challenges and the peril.

“We’ve taken in breathtaking scenery, yet have witnessed many things that should never have found their way there, like refrigerators, tires, containers and pallets. The oceans deserve our respect and it’s our responsibility to highlight the issues, to be good role models and inspire change.

“We have only explored about five percent of the world’s oceans, yet they’re the lifeblood of Earth, covering more than 70 percent of the planet’s surface, driving weather, regulating temperature and ultimately supporting all living organisms.”

The grueling endurance challenge is the Volvo Ocean Race, a multi-leg sailing competition that circles the world. It runs every three years and goes back to 1973. The race starts in the Spanish port of Alicante on Oct. 22 and sails to 11 ports, finishing in the Hague (Netherlands) in June 2018.

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From Fenway Park to Wembley, These Stadiums are Going Big on Renewable Energy

CNBC
By 

Michael Ivins | Boston Red Sox | Getty images

Michael Ivins | Boston Red Sox | Getty images

Every weekend, millions of people around the world make the pilgrimage to their favorite sports team and watch their sporting heroes and heroines in the flesh.

As sports science, analysis, and detailed statistics transform the way teams prepare for games, arenas are also changing, with many looking to “go green.”

Here, CNBC takes a look at some of the stadiums and teams embracing clean energy and the environment.

Read the full story here.

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