It’s Blog Action Day, so I’m blogging about climate change, along with thousands of others

Note: I’m a few hours early with my Blog Action Day post, because I’ll be on the road tomorrow. Ironic, isn’t it, that I’ll be traveling, emitting carbon, on a day when so many of my blogging colleagues will be promoting awareness of climate change. But at least I’ll be off the grid, which may help offset my emissions for the day. And maybe posting this early will earn me some brownie points in the metaphysical realm. Whatever. Happy BAD.

I’m no expert on climate change, but today (Thursday, Oct. 15, 2009) is Blog Action Day, and bloggers all over the world are devoting time and bandwidth to this year’s topic, which is global warming. That’s a huge issue, and it’s going to affect me whether I’m an expert on it or not. Given this fact, it would be rather picayune to post my usual fare about some new trend in social media or how to fine-tune your marketing strategy or how I still don’t have a Google Wave invite.

So. Climate change.

What a huge issue. Where to begin?

OK, let’s start locally, and with something I know a little bit about.

I work at a university that has signed on to the Presidents Climate Commitment. That’s a pledge — signed by presidents or chancellors of more than 650 colleges and universities — to take meaningful steps toward a carbon-neutral existence. I’m glad our institution is part of this collective effort, because colleges and universities should be among the leaders on issues of social responsibility — not just climate change, but that’s a start.

But as many institutions have discovered during this economic downturn, it’s one thing to make a pledge and quite another to carry out the work. As The Chronicle of Higher Education reported last spring (subscription required), many of the signatories to the Presidents Climate Commitment have yet to follow through on their pledge. Most campus leaders blame the economy for scaling back on their plans to attain carbon neutrality. As for our campus, we’re still putting together our initial plan. In the meantime, though, we’re working on trying to reduce our carbon footprint. We have what we consider some pretty ambitious goals for the current fiscal year — to reduce fossil fuel consumption of university-owned vehicles by 10 percent this year, and to reduce energy consumption by 3 percent per square foot of our physical plant. But we know that that is only a start.

Our campus’s green committee, which I serve on, has a lot of great ideas on how individuals can help our campus meet our goals for this year. Many of these ideas translate to personal steps each individual can take — at home, on campus, wherever you work. They include:

  • Cut back on business travel; opt for teleconferences whenever possible.
  • Turn off lights in unoccupied offices, classrooms and bathrooms.
  • Turn off computers and printers at the end of each day.
  • Close shades or blinds during summer and winter months to reduce solar heat from the sun and to keep offices warmer during the winter.
  • Turn off power to appliances at night to reduce phantom power drainage.

No-brainers, right? Yet, I’m amazed at how many people leave office lights on, keep their computers on overnight, etc.

In its entirety, climate change seems insurmountable. But looking at what each individual can do, it is possible to make a difference. Energy conservation is one area in which we can all make a difference. So, I challenge you, as we go into the late fall and winter months, to do what you can to reduce your energy use. Turn down the thermostat and put on a Snuggie. Carpool as much as possible. Skip that trip to a sister campus and teleconference instead. Turn off your computer when you’re not using it.

Just do your part. If nothing else, inform yourself about climate change.

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Author: andrewcareaga

Higher ed PR and marketing guy. Communications director for Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) in Rolla, Missouri, USA. Slow runner, mediocre guitarist, lover of music and puns, and an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan. I blog and Tweet about #highered, #music, #gocards and #random stuff.

2 thoughts on “It’s Blog Action Day, so I’m blogging about climate change, along with thousands of others”

  1. Great post. Many people forget about the phantom power drainage. It is a small amount of energy, but adds up quickly. Especially during breaks and holidays when staff are on vacation. Staff tend to turn off the their computers/appliances, etc. but they forget to unplug them or turn off power strips to stop the phantom drain.

  2. In the grocery store near our house, they will give you an option to purchase their “save the earth” green colored cloth bag and that’s where they will place your purchased products. And then every time you buy anything from the store and you bring the “save the earth” bag with you, you get to have discounts. This is their way of sharing their contribution to save the earth from global warming. About three weeks ago, we were hit by two very strong storms. We never had that in decades. They left our country with still so many flooded areas, a lot were homeless and lost so many loved ones. Until now, we are still sweeping the streets from mud and tons of ruined appliances drowned from the flood. The effects of those twin storm were devastating. It’s not wet season for us here, but we we were informed that we are still expecting four more storms on this last quarter of the year. And just this morning, local news says, weeks from now, we are expecting a strong earthquake to hit the metro city including the nearby provinces. This is the same Metro city hit by the twin storms. And the news says its all because of global warming/climate change. I’m blithely about the issue before, but when the twin storm hit us plus all the bad news, I thought, I must do something too. To solve the global warming problem, it must be stormed at the national and international levels.But the total success is built upon the action of every individual, regardless of nationality, to conserve energy and live in a greener, cleaner community.
    Happy BLoG AcTioN DaY! :-)

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