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Archive for the ‘Kyoto Now’ Category

From the Ithaca Journal:

More than 100 students from nearly a dozen colleges and universities around New York state, along with community residents, are registered for a summit in Ithaca this weekend to plan statewide action on global warming. The New York Climate Summit will also train youth and community residents to go back to home campuses and communities and campaign to get clean energy policies, according to organizers. Hosted by the student group KyotoNOW! at Cornell University, part of the Sierra Student Coalition, the summit will also involve several regional organizations, including Sustainable Tompkins, the Climate Change Action Group of Central NY and Energy Independent Caroline.

(more…)

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Jumping off the amazing energy that’s emerging nationally for strong action on global warming, KyotoNOW!, together with other student and community organizations around New York State, plan to organize the New York State Climate Summit 2007. Scheduled for November 16-18, the summit’s goals will be to 1) train students and community members to lead effective energy campaigns in their campuses or communities, and 2) to develop an agreed-upon plan to launch a strategic campaign to pressure Albany to pass legislation requiring 80% reductions in greenhouse gas emissions below 1990 levels by 2050.

With states like California, New Jersey, Oregon, Minnesota, and others leading on this important issue with binding targets, New York should become a leading state in the fight against global warming. Stay tuned for more as we develop our plans for the summit. To get involved, please contact Carlos Rymer at carlos.rymer@gmail.com.

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Sign It, Skorton
Brutal Honesty
By Jeff Purcell
Feb 5 2007

Among other criticisms, former President Lehman was accused of being distant and unresponsive to student and faculty concerns. To show that he was none of these things, President Skorton moved into Mary Donlon Hall and, like every other freshman, took the swim test. From his inauguration to his bedroom, the point was that Skorton was listening to students and sensitive to their concerns.
This Friday, he can prove it when he meets with Kyoto Now!
Formed to engage Cornell’s leadership and community around environmental concerns, Kyoto Now! has joined a nationwide effort to improve campus-based emissions and waste. And now, timed to coincide with the release of the Fourth Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Kyoto Now! is presenting Skorton with a Climate Neutrality resolution.
Working with the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (www.aashe.org), the resolution requires Cornell to join hundreds of other colleges and universities to become “carbon neutral” by 2050. This pledge sets a clock for our phasing out of fossil fuels, and increasing reliance on renewables, so that by 2050 Cornell will no longer require burning anything to power itself. By pushing campuses to design and implement comprehensive efficiency enhancement, waste reduction, mass transportation and reusable energy policies, AASHE is pushing for leadership to prevent climate change.
“We’re using the resolution to educate our students, so that when they become leaders they’ll understand how to be a sustainable community,” and “we’re pushing Cornell to be a leader in itself,” says Kyoto Now!’s Vice President Katherine McEachern ’09. “We need every school to go carbon neutral.”
Last weekend, the group packed Robert Purcell and Cornell Cinema to show climate change documentaries and has held rallies and teach-ins to publicize the imperative of reducing emissions.
With over 2,000 student signatures urging Skorton to commit, Kyoto Now! is working toward securing more transparent and forward-thinking leadership than Cornell has seen before. In 2001, the administration agreed to go beyond standards required by the Kyoto Protocol, an international treaty the U.S. signed but has never ratified. The Protocol asks countries to reduce emissions to 5 percent below their 1990 levels, and Cornell has lived up to its promise — sort of. Though our emissions are down, our energy use is up, and our projections make clear that we’ll break our promises by 2009. Day Hall may be betting that student memory is only four years.
These promises were made because of student demands. In 2001, Kyoto Now! gave President Rawlings over 3,000 student signatures and mountains of faculty support demanding Kyoto-like commitments from Cornell. After his silence to this series of actions, members staged a sit-in at Day Hall during Cornell Days. Negotiations ended with Vice President Hal Craft ’61 pledging Cornell would go 7 percent below 1990 levels by 2008.
Rawlings required dramatic action to convince him of an idea whose time had obviously come. Lehman refused to negotiate with students and faculty who protested his decision to raze three acres of trees to build a parking lot. With a sensible and easily achieved policy on his desk, will Skorton sign the pledge on Friday?
“This is what schools are going to be doing,” McEachern says.
And she’s right. Schools that have signed the pledge and are working to implement it include the entire University of California system, the University of Florida, Oberlin, Carleton and the University of Minnesota. Big and small, urban and rural, campus leaders elsewhere feel the wind blowing.
Designing a policy to reduce — and ultimately end, by 2050 at the latest — our reliance on fossil fuels is a process, and at this point it’s vital to secure a concrete commitment to that process. Kyoto Now!’s next step is to begin a “dialogue with the community to devise a plan to achieve the goals. It’s about engaging climate change,” not just observing it.
What’s important to monitor, after Skorton signs the pledge, is how Cornell plans for its future. Its current CO2 forecast, as noted, is poor. And its quarter-billion dollar residence hall rebuilding includes just one building certified by LEEDs, a construction industry standard for sustainable growth. The Alice Cook House was designed to reduce energy needs and abate its impact on its surroundings. Its three-acre parking lot notwithstanding, Cook’s roof collects rainwater and moderates the building’s temperature and creative use of windows and light fixture placement reduces its energy needs. This is an example of what we should be doing — with every building. Instead of filling this paper and the Chronicle with stories about our few good deeds, Cornell needs to fill its campus with many of them.
The entirety of Cornell’s environmental impact is called its footprint. This includes its energy, water and waste, its buildings and commuters. It considers where we buy our food, how far it travels to get here, how much we throw away and where we throw it.
President Skorton is four days away from an opportunity to lead Cornell toward the future of reducing our footprint, to enhance our impact on New York. Previous presidents of Cornell have failed to appreciate the concerns of thousands of students and faculty, especially in areas of Cornell’s impact on its surroundings. Swimtrunks were a fine start, but the next step is to sign the Climate Neutrality Resolution and fully support and expand the resources and responsibilities of Dean Koyanagi, Cornell’s sustainability coordinator. At the moment, Koyanagi has a staff of one part-time employee, hardly a signal from Day Hall that past and future commitments to sustainability and carbon neutrality are more than smog and mirrors.
Mr. President, our campus is engaged and concerned and insists Cornell live up to its previous agreements. Just as importantly, we must increase our efforts, and the resolution is that commitment. Between the two campaigns, over 5,000 students are insisting you act on the side of progress and foresight. We must all swim with the new tide of ecological awareness and action, and not just tread water in Teagle.
By Jeff Purcell at Feb 5 2007

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Hi all,
Wanted to let everyone know that KyotoNOW! is having a planning session and skills training on Saturday at 1 pm in McGraw 145. Maura Cowley, the Northeast Coordinator for the Campus Climate Challenge, will be there as will all the coolest kids on campus.
Time is running out for our schools to take action on this- but students across the country are stepping up and demanding action! Come add your voice. See you at 1.

People on campus are responding to the call- check out http://cornellsun.com/node/21098.

~Katherine

“Students around the world have been at the forefront of movements to promote democracy and human rights. Student movements have toppled powerful dictatorships and military juntas. Student movements have ended wars. And student activism has often served as the conscience for nations, reminding people in times of turmoil of the founding ideals of their countries and the aspirations of all people for justice, dignity, and equality.”-Glenn Omatsu

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