The holidays for me are all about family and enjoying nature.  When I was growing up, my family and I use to go camping for Thanksgiving in California.  I know, camping on Thanksgiving might seem a bit weird, but trust me, when you live in a great climate like California, camping in November is perfect.  More important than Thanksgiving for me, was the amazing time I got to spend outside in nature; walks on the beach, hikes in the mountains, and spending time around the campfire brings back more amazing memories than the actual Thanksgiving dinner.  I am so thankful that I got to spend that time with my family, enjoying the best nature has to offer.

This Thanksgiving, I feel we have so many amazing things to be thankful for… but I will name just 5 of the top environmental/campus sustainability victories I feel deserve mentioning:


Top 5 Environmental / Campus Sustainability Victories 

1.  Keystone XL Pipeline has been delayed:  Two months ago no one thought that this was possible- yet we defied the impossible, we stopped Big Oil and are going to continue to put pressure on President Obama and the State Department to ensure that this pipeline will be stopped for good.

2.  Young Voices are calling for an end to Dirty Oil:  Across the country, the youth are asking for a clean energy revolution.  Just this past week, students in Ohio stood up to the gas industry, telling them that they “We won’t stop until you do.”   From the Keystone XL Pipeline, to fracking and mountaintop removal, young people are at the heart of each of these movements.  As Benjamin Disraeli said in 1844, “Almost everything that is great has been done by youth.”   

3.  Colleges and Universities are beginning to demonstrate that they can become 100% off-the-grid: Butte College in California is now grid positive  and the University of Minnesota-Morris has two utility scale wind turbines and a biomass plant, which is producing enough energy, that when the wind blows they, too, are off the grid.  These are just 2 college campuses, imagine what would happen if all 4100 colleges and universities made a pledge to be 100% off-the-grid!

4.  Sustainable Financing is now common on campuses:  Across the country, student green fees and green revolving loan funds are becoming the norm on college and university campuses.   The funds are then allocated to green projects on campus- new solar panels, better recycling, and improved energy usage are all types of projects students elect to implement on their campus.  These fees offer the ability for students to be creative in their efforts to green their campuses.

5.  Going “Green” is proving to save money:  Up until recently, many folks believed that becoming more sustainable would cost more money.  But colleges and universities are showing that sustainability has a high return on investment.  Millions of dollars are being saved on college campuses across the US .

There are many things to be thankful for this holiday season.  These top 5 victories are just the beginning.  I invite you to share with us what you think are the top 5 environmental victories to be thankful for this season in the comment box or on our Facebook and Twitter pages.