Weeks prior to the Paris Climate Change Conference, 218 campuses nationally pledged to support climate action and increase campus sustainability.
These colleges, representing over 3 million students and spanning over 40 states, signed the American Campuses Act on Climate Pledge to show their support of climate action by world leaders and President Barack Obama in Paris during the COP 21. These institutions have also pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, incorporate environmental action into academic curriculum and become carbon neutral within the next decades according to the White House press release.
Several colleges in Maryland, including Towson University and Johns Hopkins University have already begun taking the necessary steps towards promoting climate action.
“It was a very fast-moving process, so it’s exciting that President Daniels took the time to review the pledge and ensure that we added our voices to the national-and global-conversation,” said Ashley Pennington, Program Manager for the JHU Office of Sustainability to Hub.
Johns Hopkins’ main initiatives are to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 51 percent by 2025, foster sustainability education programs, conduct research on the impact of climate change and sustainability, and many more. Several student groups on campus have also signed similar pledges for sustainability and efficiency.
Towson University has taken similar steps to promote sustainability across their campus of more than 20,000 students. Towson University has invested $8 million in installing new lighting fixtures to reduce energy costs, and reduced their consumption of energy by 30 percent and have an annual savings of $26,000 in transformers according to the Towson University Office of Sustainability.
The pledge for sustainability across college campuses is a progressive new advancement in the fight for climate action, inspiring the next generation to continue making strives in education paired with environmental awareness and sustainability.