7,000 colleges and universities declare a climate emergency and present a plan

Over 7,000 colleges and universities have declared a climate emergency and also presented a three-point plan to help combat the problem and its costs, according to EcoWatch:

“The declaration came in a letter — which other education institutions are encouraged to sign — that was organized by the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges (EAUC), U.S.-based higher education climate action organization Second Nature, and UN Environment Program’s (UNEP) Youth and Education Alliance.”

According to a statement from organizers, the letter “marks the first time further and higher education establishments have come together to make a collective commitment to address the climate emergency.”

The three-point plan unveiled by the group is ambitious:

  1. Committing to going carbon neutral by 2030 or 2050 at the very latest;
  2. Mobilizing more resources for action-oriented climate change research and skills creation; and
  3. Increasing the delivery of environmental and sustainability education across curricula, campus, and community outreach programs.

The letter also notes:

“The young minds that are shaped by our institutions must be equipped with the knowledge, skills, and capability to respond to the ever-growing challenges of climate change. We all need to work together to nurture a habitable planet for future generations and to play our part in building a greener and cleaner future for all.”

The letter was presented at UN Headquarters in New York on Wednesday and has been signed so far by 25 networks that represent approximately 7,050 institutions and 59 individual institutions that, combined, have about 652,000 students.

The list of countries represented sounds like a roll call of nations at the UN: The United States, Argentina, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Denmark, France, Germany, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Kenya, Kuwait, Mauritius, Mexico, Nigeria, Panama, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Uganda, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and Venezuela.

UNEP executive director Inger Andersen remarked:

“What we teach shapes the future. We welcome this commitment from universities to go climate neutral by 2030 and to scale-up their efforts on campus. Young people are increasingly at the forefront of calls for more action on climate and environmental challenges. Initiatives which directly involve the youth in this critical work are a valuable contribution to achieving environmental sustainability.”

Featured Image via Flickr

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Andrew Bradford

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