Sustainability Education Summit convenes in DC this week

Patrick Fitzgerald is NWF’s Director of Education Advocacy.

I’m sitting in a room with 250+ leaders from the education, environmental, and business communities for the first ever Sustainability Education Summit, hosted by the U.S. Department of Education.

The National Wildlife Federation’s Campus Ecology Team is here in force to move the ball forward on addressing climate change and educating and training Americans for the clean energy economy.

“The goal of the summit is to articulate a set of action steps for education, business and industry, government, and the environmental community to promote the transition to a sustainable, green economy,” according to the Department of Education. “Further, each set of sector-specific action steps shall be coordinated to result in a broad national approach, centering on higher education and the educational system in general.”

This cross-sector collaboration is evident in the speakers for the opening plenary, kicking off with the U.S. Under Secretary of Education Martha Kanter, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ron Sims, Bank of America Chairman Chad Holliday, and Arizona State University President Michael Crow.

The Sustainability Education Summit is the result of the passage of the University Sustainability Program (USP) as part of the comprehensive higher education reauthorization bill in 2008.  In addition to directing the Department of Education to host this summit, the program is providing resources to the higher education community through a new grant program this year.

National Wildlife Federation is continuing to push for more funding for USP with important partners like the Campaign for Environmental Literacy.  We are also actively pushing the No Child Left Inside Act to improve environmental education at the K-12 level.

Follow the author on Twitter @PatrickNWF.