Invest In Our Future: Make Carbon Neutrality a Maryland Reality Join the grassroots movement for changing the way our universities impact our climate
The Maryland Student Climate Coalition (MSCC) incorporates student leaders from all eleven universities and colleges, plus 4 research institutions and regional centers that are a part of the University of Maryland System (UMS). Student environmental leaders from UMB are representatives of the UMB campus in the MSCC.
Feb. 15th, 2008: The MSCC presented over 11,000 student, staff, and faculty signatures, plus the endorsements of school Presidents, Deans, Directors, faculty and staff senates, and student organizations from campuses across the state in the USM System to the Board of Regents asking them to support Chancellor Kirwan in his environmental initiatives plan (see link above). We requested that they mandate a carbon neutrality policy as a goal for higher education campuses. Since that meeting the following announcement has been released. ONE GIANT LEAP FORWARD!
The Process of Reducing Climate Destruction
What’s happening at UMB? Important Meeting March 28th 4-6PM! Students are about to become part of the "UMB Going Green" policy making process. The campus is developing a system of committees with the task of evaluating and initiating sustainable policies to reduce UMB's carbon footprint based upon the principles outlined within Chancellor Kirwan's Sustainability Initiative. Students will be given official seats as representatives on those committees, empowering us to have a voice in changing UMB's impact on the climate.
Members of the Graduate Student Environmental Action Coalition (GSEAC), Maryland Environmental Law Society (MELS), and the USGA, are working to establish a permanent Sustainibility Student Senate that, long after the student leaders of today have graduated, continues to monitor and be actively involved with campus administration and staff in the implementation of climate-conscious policies. The best way to maintain momentum and maintain respect and power as a student-led group is to insure that the mentorship of younger leaders and transmission of knowledge is continuous through an centralized organization that is representative of a campus-wide voice. As fragmented student groups, we are much less effective in gaining attention and bringing about change when we act simply at the school level. Our goal for creation of this Senate is to draw membership and leaders from each of the schools on campus to participate in:
- as an overall environmental group, be involved in evaluating the big picture (climate impact) at UMB, setting goals and priorities, and organizing and implementing unified actions to be disseminated back to school-level awareness campaigns.
- provide the student delegates to fill those policy-making committee positions on the UMB campus's sustainability committees.
- provide student representatives who represent the environmental awareness agenda in the USGA and in Student Government Association groups, and ensure that lines of communication and strategies for organizing are efficient.
- provide members who are actively involved at the state-wide level with the MSCC in pushing for top-down mandates of carbon neutrality.
Students, staff, faculty...come to the March 28th meeting, 4-6PM at HSFII room 340 (corner of Lombard and Penn St), to contribute your ideas and help us lay the groundwork for creating the student policy group. Please RSVP if possible to Kelly Baker, firstname.lastname@example.org, so we have a headcount for snacks.
Volunteer to be actively involved by contacting email@example.com.
Tell others about what’s going on and encourage them to get involved.
Carbon Neutrality: The term carbon neutral means obtaining a net zero carbon impact by balancing out our carbon footprint as a university by limiting energy usage, obtaining power from renewable clean-energy sources, and offsetting unavoidable carbon emissions by investing in carbon-reducing projects. Find out more about some of the ways to achieve carbon neutrality by clicking the USM Policy Outline.
Our Global Impact: The USM is composed of 130,000 students, plus numerous other employees spread out over 15 campuses. Imagine the impact we make on the Maryland ecosystem! Our impact locally as residents and in our work places has global ramifications. As the earth’s climate changes, we are seeing increased signs of the damage: accumulating trash and chemical contaminants, deforestation, droughts and hurricanes, diminishing fuel supplies…did you know environmental issues even cause humanitarian issues? International demands for resources like oil and precious gems are responsible for driving the conflicts we see in less developed countries, like Sudan. When environmental issues like droughts or floods destroy a community’s ability to sustain itself, infighting for control of precious high-demand resources becomes a fight for survival. So being active in changing the way we impact the planet is not just to prevent climate destruction, but also to improve human quality of life now and in the future.
Our Local Impact: Maryland is considered the third most vulnerable state in the US. The Chesapeake Bay is rising twice as fast as the average rate of the world’s oceans due to the effects of global warming. With Maryland’s unique 3,100 miles of coastline, this will have huge implications for its residents. Starting to proactively deal with the demands for cleaner renewable energies and for preventing further contribution to climate change will put USM schools ahead as leaders at the forefront of a wave of inevitable changes in energy usage policy and carbon emissions containment. We are the 12th largest system of schools in the nation (http://mdk16.usmd.edu/inside.php?area_id=37) and therefore are in a unique position to set the example for how State higher education systems can care for the future by not just in educating minds but by being the pioneers of innovative ideas as well.
The process of reducing climate destruction must start now.
Becoming more responsible about the way we live and act in the workplace will be a gradual process. It is a complicated issue requiring a wide variety of solutions on several different fronts. The USM students recognize this and are taking an active role in combating some of these ill effects right on their own campuses. Bringing our campuses to carbon neutrality will take time and investment in new technology and resources to make progressive changes and improvements.
Good Luck Graduates!! and Congrats :)
USGA Senator Retreat date: September 6, 2008 time: TBD place: TBD