Every year on April 22, UNH joins people and organizations around the world to celebrate Earth Day. This feels more meaningful as the urgency of action to address the climate crisis becomes more apparent to us all.
We are pleased to share that UNH recently joined 75 other higher education institutions in sending a letter to President Biden in support of a 2030 emissions goal, which would put the U.S. on a path toward being net zero by 2050, which means that any emissions are balanced by absorbing an equivalent amount from the atmosphere. And we’re proud that we are doing our own part at UNH. We have reduced our campus carbon footprint by more than half since 2001, and our new WildCAP (Climate Action Plan) calls for continued rapid progress in reducing UNH’s carbon footprint over the next decade. Learn more at a virtual information session Thursday, April 29, 1-2 p.m. or Friday, April 30, 9-10 a.m. and share your feedback online.
Action on the climate crisis is just one component of sustainability, a collective commitment to human dignity for all people and ecological integrity in all places. We’re proud to be a national leader in sustainability and will work to renew our Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) rating this summer.
And now is the time to seek additional ways to expand our sustainability work to include growing undergraduate and graduate enrollment in sustainability programs, expanding and integrating our research in areas from climate and biodiversity to equity and sustainable communities, and creating additional interdisciplinary experiential education opportunities for our students. We want to involve the entire UNH community in committing to helping UNH reach a new level in academic sustainability offerings, and we want your ideas to achieve our goal of being a leading university in sustainability. Reach out with your ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org by June 30, whether about adjusting existing programs or creating new programs or structures (in form and function) that we will use to achieve this strategic goal.
We hope you will join us at one of the many events this week being organized across campus in recognition of Earth Day. Please also join me on Friday, May 7, 2-4 p.m. for our first annual UNH Sustainability Awards celebration when we will shine a light on the more than 90 faculty, staff and students who were nominated for their work in curriculum, research, operations and engagement to advance sustainability.
When we all do our part, the whole benefits.
James W. Dean Jr.