Submitted on January 15, 2010; last updated on January 15, 2010
This short term target was chosen to be obtainable and begin an institutionalized effort to reduce emissions. It is based on identified projects, whose completion is achievable in the next five years. Committed to climate neutrality, Mills will be better equipped to assess the long term potential to become climate neutral after gaining experience meeting the short term target.
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Mills Climate Action Plan seeks to
1. Explain current trends in energy consumption and other factors contributing to GHG emissions
2. Establish a feasible near term goal for GHG emission reductions
3. Identify detailed projects capable of reaching the goal
4. Determine how to achieve success and establish future goals
Accurate historical energy and demographic trends were analyzed in addition to the baseline 2008 GHG inventory and will remain a key component of tracking progress as mitigation projects yield results or reveal difficulties. The information will be used as a tool to adaptively manage efforts.
In preparation for this Climate Action Plan, the Sustainability Committee prepared an extensive list of potential projects with associated cost estimates. Projects vary widely in scope, length, cost, and investment, and a combination of several will be required to meet the target. Consequently, project review and approval will occur throughout the coming years.
Mills will draw on leadership from the Sustainability Committee to oversee the process. It will also actively engage students, particularly the student group Earth CORPS to help in educational outreach and behavioral programs.
The College is redesigning a sophomore core course in order to more effectively introduce and integrate themes related to our Climate Action Plan. Some of the topics currently covered include, environment and literature, religion and environment, the Greening of Mills, ecological analysis and California urban development, green campus buildings as teaching buildings all with an interdisciplinary emphasis. Our curriculum also provides students opportunities for cross-disciplinary and independent study that include climate change and sustainability. We hope to develop a faculty Ad Hoc Committee on Sustainability in the curriculum. We will draw upon and expand specific curricular initiatives including:
Biology major with an Ecological Theory and Practice Track.
Environmental Science major.
Environmental Studies major with a public policy emphasis.
Public Policy major with an opportunity to study U.S. and China environmental policies in the context of global climate change.
We are discussing the expansion of faculty development funds to develop a course or interdisciplinary seminars on the subject of climate change.
The restoration of Leona Creek and Lake Aliso are integrated into Biology courses; the Botanic Garden is an active study center of native plants and restoration ecology. It also serves as an outdoor classroom for courses at Mills.
Feature sustainability and climate change as a part of the faculty noon-time seminars.
The College has made a campus-wide commitment to provide students with many opportunities to become involved in and engaged with the broad issues of environmental sustainability in their residence halls, classrooms, and social activities. The Colleges Sustainability Center, which has become a hub of student activity under the guidance of the campus Sustainability and Recycling Coordinator, will expand student engagement activities to reflect themes of new curricular programming.
As part of the Mills College Sustainability Committee's mission to facilitate community partnerships, a key component will become climate neutrality. Mills' community outreach is largely educational, with green building tours, lectures, and educational events. Both of Mills LEED certified buildings are available for tours, largely focusing on energy efficiency measures.
In particular, the Mills College Botanical Garden, Sustainability Center, and Earth CORPS student group have expanded plans to reach out to local K-12 programs concerning environmental stewardship, habitat and watershed restoration and the potential effects of climate change, and resource consumption. Sustainable agriculture is a focal point of community exchange in and around the Botanical Garden, teaching a variety about our foods connection to the climate.
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