Today I moderated a panel on greenhouse gas inventories for the higher education subcommittee for the US Green Builders organization. It was co-sponsored by EarthWays Center, associated with the Missouri Botanical Gardens. The panelists were Matt Malten, David Stone, and Marcia Lochmann – coordinators from Washington University, Webster University, and Lewis & Clark Community College. The focus was to learn about their lessons after going through an audit.
I am assisting Florissant Valley’s Campus Sustainability Committee as they gather data to complete their GHG inventory this semester. Dr Pai, President of Meramec, recently signed the ACUPCC (Presidents’ Climate Commitment).This means an audit for their campus as well. Calculating our carbon footprint is an important step to develop strategies for reducing carbon output for our district, as well as region. The challenges are many–where to start? To sign, or not to sign? What is the school’s “acceptable
payback” policy? Who will gather the data? How will committees be formed to create a climate action plan? Who will shoulder the financial obligations for this commitment? How will we partner with others on our campuses, with those in other institutions, and with our local and regional communities? How will we at our college share our sustainable vision for climate change? How will our Board and leadership team step forward to make carbon reduction part of our mission? How do we blend this auditing process and infuse it into our curriculum and job training?
These questions are being considered already by leadership, management and green champions across the district. Florissant Valley is leading the way with this audit process, with Meramec soon to follow. If you are interested in helping find the answers to these questions, please contact me to join this exciting effort. On the eve of the Copenhagen Climate Treaty, we are poised to make our contribution to this important global challenge–climate change.