Earth Day, Every Day, How Campuses Are Reducing Waste, Cutting Carbon, and Maybe Even Saving the Planet

Posted by Liberal Education Magazine on October 25, 2022

The planet is warming. Between 2010 and 2019, annual global greenhouse emissions were at their highest levels in human history, according to an April 2022 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report. “Without immediate and deep reductions across all sectors,” the IPCC declared, “limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius is beyond reach.”

That number is important. Limiting rising temperatures to 1.5 degrees could halve the increase in sea levels that will occur by 2100. Yet as United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres warned, humanity is on track to more than double the 1.5-degree Celsius limit.

As the problem becomes more dire, colleges and universities are fighting back by conducting research, emphasizing sustainability, and setting carbon-reduction goals. In 2021, at a forum in Glasgow, Scotland, 1,050 higher ed institutions from sixty-eight countries committed to net-zero emissions by 2050. Since 2007, more than 800 institutions have signed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, a pledge to achieve carbon neutrality as soon as possible.

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