Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Shining Stars of Green Schools

There are a group of schools whose environmental committment is so exemplary they stand out from the rest. Sierra Magazine refers to the Eco League and the University of California as "Shining Stars."

As reviewed in previous posts many colleges now offer environmental programs but the Eco League is composed of five schools where environmentalism is woven into the fabric of the entire institution.

The University of California is the other constellation of shinning eco-stars. Berkley and Santa Cruz are flagship campuses and they are models of environmentally oriented learning institutions.

The Eco League is a group of five liberal arts schools: Alaska Pacific University, College of the Atlantic, Green Mountain College, Northland College, and Prescott College. Almost all of their courses have an environmental edge. And integrating experiential learning is also emphasized in their curriculum.

The reports that College of the Atlantic is offseting all its greenhouse-gas emissions and Green Mountain College now gets more than half its electricity from generators powered by methane from dairy cow waste. Students at the Eco League take their environmental responsibilities seriously. To fund clean energy projects, Northland College students voted to tax themselves $20 per semester.

The University of California's ten campuses are reducing their footprint faster than any other university. Thousands of green projects are underway throughout the school. At UC Berkeley a largely vegetarian food offering reduces the use of resource-intensive meat. UC Davis grows olive trees and produces a line of award-winning olive oils. Meanwhile, UC Santa Cruz has offset 100 percent of its carbon dioxide emissions since last fall, and four of UCLA's high-rise dorms now have solar-powered water heaters. Farther south, UC San Diego generates 7.4 megawatts of its electricity (10 to 15 percent of its total energy) using renewable sources including methane-powered fuel cells, solar, and wind.

Colleges are preparing students for a more sustainable future, but the best green colleges serve as models of sustainability today.

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1 comment:

Alaska Pacific University said...

We have a few college students online from college of Alaska Pacific University and we love your blog postings, so well add your rss or news feed for them, Thanks and please post us and leave a comment back and well link to you. Thanks Jen , Blog Manager, Alaska Pacific University