Help Make a Difference on National Policy
- by Don Ryan, Vice President for Policy, Second Nature*
If you want to help bring the voice of higher education to the policy-making table, please read on to learn how faculty and staff at your institution can make a difference. At the request of the ACUPCC, Second Nature is working to strengthen higher education’s impact on national policy related to climate and sustainability. In addition to more actively engaging presidents, Second Nature is building a network of faculty and staff who want to elevate the national policy dialogue. If your personal commitment to sustainability includes advocacy for national policy change, we hope you will join us.
Second Nature wants to identify all faculty and staff at each college and university who are interested in working on national policy related to sustainability. In addition, we hope to identify one staff member at each institution to serve as Policy Liaison and point of contact.
Those colleges and universities that are tackling climate action plans are blazing trails through unexplored territory and discovering firsthand the practical challenges. Many of these challenges are rooted in the legal, regulatory and financial system that has been shaped by decades of cheap fossil fuels. In many cases, breakthrough progress can only be achieved by changing laws, regulations, policies and funding streams.
Many college presidents recognize the critical importance of policy change and have responded enthusiastically to Second Nature’s policy alerts. For example, in July more than 150 presidents co-signed a letter to urge the Senate to dedicate at least 1% of cap-and-trade allowances to education to prepare the American people for a clean-energy economy.
Each college or university’s Policy Liaison might be the sustainability coordinator, Implementation Liaison, government relations director, or some other motivated member of the faculty or staff. We hope Policy Liaisons will help Second Nature develop a national agenda for policy change, respond to policy alerts by contacting administration officials and elected representatives, and share policy alerts with other interested staff and faculty. This form of policy advocacy relies on individual expressions of support for policy change by faculty and staff, rather than formally representing your college or university.
If you have time and energy to work for national policy change, please email Don Ryan, Second Nature’s Vice President for Policy, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please forward this invitation to your colleagues who may be interested as well.
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