Metropolis Mag Profiles Carbon-Cutting Universities

from Wildlife Promise

0 3/4/2008 // By Xarissa Holdaway

It’s been a while, we know. We’re sorry! To make it up to
you, we’re tipping you off to a great article in February’s Metropolis
magazine. It’s titled Carbon Neutral U, and profiles the efforts of Yale University, which has committed to slashing carbon emissions by 43 percent (!) before 2020. This effort will bring the university below 1990 levels, far lower than the Kyoto Protocol goals. Even better, Yale is way ahead of schedule, and might reach its goal as early as 2010.

As the article lists some of the efforts other institutions are making–such as Cornell’s cogeneration power plant, which simultaneously produces usable heat and energy, and LEED building certification at Columbia and Harvard–it becomes obvious to me that we are cresting a wave. Sustainability is not just for celebrities going off the grid, or corporations ensuring that their supply system is reliable and healthy. On the university level, it’s not only relegated to the Ivy Leaguers (although the universities quoted in the Metropolis article are all prestigious and fortunate enough to have large endowments). Smaller colleges are also getting in on the game, creating Sustainability Offices like California State U.-Chico, or adopting more efficient building guidelines like those at Pomona College.

After all, there’s almost nowhere better to lead the sustainability effort than a campus, where it’s relatively easy to make small retrofits and operating changes that can have a massive impact.