Haverford Signs American Campuses Act on Climate Pledge
Ahead of the UN Climate Conference in Paris, the College joined more than 200 other institutions of higher education to pledge support for international climate action.
Haverford College joined 217 other colleges and universities in signing the American Campuses Act on Climate Pledge ahead of the UN Climate Conference, which is taking place this week and next in Paris. The 218 schools span historically black colleges and universities, religious institutions, women’s colleges, technical schools, community colleges, all schools in the Ivy League, and a variety of public and private universities located across more than 40 states. The pledge states:
As institutions of higher education, we applaud the progress already made to promote clean energy and climate action as we seek a comprehensive, ambitious agreement at the upcoming United Nations Climate Negotiations in Paris. We recognize the urgent need to act now to avoid irreversible costs to our global community’s economic prosperity and public health and are optimistic that world leaders will reach an agreement to secure a transition to a low carbon future. Today our school pledges to accelerate the transition to low-carbon energy while enhancing sustainable and resilient practices across our campus.
"The American Campuses Act on Climate Pledge seeks to harness colleges' emergent energy to help catalyze the political change needed to make our planet safe for future generations," says Haverford Chief Sustainability Officer Jesse Lytle, also the president's chief of staff. "We are pleased to show our solidarity with the White House's energized agenda around addressing climate change."
The College has a deep ethical commitment to sustainability. A charter signatory to the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment in 2007, Haverford buys 100 percent wind energy and has reduced its net greenhouse gas emissions by 12.3 percent since 2011. The campus is now home to electric vehicle charging stations and three green roofs. The Dining Center, which has been "trayless" to save water since 2010, is now also composting and nearly one-third of the College's food budget accounts for locally produced and processed foods. In fact, the College is developing an on-campus food loop, which spans the student-run Haverford College Farm, a new teaching greenhouse, and the Dining Center.
"We have a responsibility as a matter of institutional citizenship to build awareness about what may be the defining issue of our students' generation," says Lytle. "Climate action is an area where proactive organizations like Haverford are ahead of public policy."
Haverford students engage with issues of sustainability both outside and inside the classroom. The College offers a robust, interdisciplinary Tri-College environmental studies minor, which encompasses historical, cultural, economic, political, scientific and ethical modes of inquiry.
"The impacts of climate change are already being felt worldwide and President Obama recognizes the importance of collaboration and working across sectors to address the impacts of climate change," said a White House statement released as part of the announcement of the Campus Climate Pledge. "More than 150 countries representing around 90% of all global emissions have offered climate pledges and, last month, 81 companies from across the American economy signed the American Businesses Act on Climate Pledge to demonstrate their commitment to climate action and show their support for a strong international climate agreement. Today’s actions are a great step forward in highlighting American leadership on climate action and ensuring a successful global agreement on climate change."