Announcing New Campus Climate Action Plan Manual and Blog!
By Walter Simpson, Retired UB Energy Officer
Attention Campus Climateers! We are happy to announce more resources to assist you in the development of your campus climate action plan (CAP)... a weekly CAP blog and (drum roll) a soon-to-be-posted climate action planning manual! With the help of peer reviewers, I am preparing a comprehensive CAP manual that we hope will fill a gap in the resources that are presently available. This manual will not be a cookbook because each college and university is going to have its own CAP recipe, but the manual will contain a great deal of "how to" detail – and we know many schools are looking for that kind of help. Campus climate neutrality is no easy undertaking and we want to help you keep your leadership commitment. We plan to post the CAP manual in late February as an on-line wiki—thus allowing you to add your own experience and knowledge to it.
At least through June we are also posting weekly blogs on various topics central to analyzing your carbon foot print, identifying and evaluating carbon mitigation strategies, and creating a comprehensive plan that will take your campus to climate neutrality "as soon as possible." I will be the primary author of the blog though occasionally guest bloggers will take over for a week or two. So there will be more than one voice and different kinds of information and perspectives shared.
Before I lay out some of the topics I hope to cover in upcoming blogs (and the describe the two which have already been posted), let me introduce myself. Last year, I retired from the University at Buffalo after 26 years in the energy conservation and sustainability "trenches" – which may be an unfortunate military metaphor but aptly describes how close to the ground and dirty I got over all those years trying to do and catalyze conservation and good green things at UB as well as prevent occasional backsliding. Initially my work was all about energy conservation, then recycling got added, followed by the formation of the UB Green Office and all things green – from 100% post-consumer recycled paper to fighting to save campus green space and prevent pesticides from being on campus lawns.
Besides my campus work, I have been a peace and environmental activist for over 35 years, right now leading campaigns against a proposed coal-fired power plant and a proposed petroleum coke gasification plant. My wife and I are both "climateers" (climate activists) and were both fortunate enough to be selected by The Climate Project to be trained by Al Gore and his super team. My personal and professional goal is to do as much as I can to put the brakes on climate change. I try to regularly ask myself if what I am doing is "big enough, bold enough, and creative enough" to measure up to the challenge we face – aptly described by climatologist Jim Hansen when he said two years ago that we have just ten years to reverse the fossil fuel trajectory we are on or the worst consequences of climate change will be unavoidable.
In January I posted an introductory blog discussing how important our work is. I know we all know that but it deserves repeating. I wanted to remind you that the work you and your climate action team is doing is incredibly important! It's worth the blood, sweat and occasional tears. My second blog outlined some of the excellent resources that are already available to help you and your school develop your climate action plan.
Coming up in February are these topics:
- Creating the institutional structure for climate neutrality planning
- How to energize your climate action planning process
- How to do a GHG Inventory
- What to expect and what you can learn from your GHG inventory
While I have a plan for future blogs, I am more than willing to switch gears and talk about a topics or problems that readers suggest if I think they are of general interest and relevance. You may identify an issue that I haven't thought of so please be in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Feedback is also appreciated.
Whatever I managed to accomplish over many years at UB was always because of a team effort. I also learned that no matter how much we did, there was always more to do. So if you are a sustainability coordinator or energy manager, I both feel your pain when the struggle and workload overwhelms or the campus bureaucracy balks. And I can appreciate how delighted you are when your efforts pay off and your campus takes even a small step in a green direction. Of course, with the Presidents Climate Commitment, you have a chance to help your school take a giant step!
Good to be working with you!
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