Naropa's Climate Action Plan
Naropa ratified its Climate Action Plan first in 2011 and updated it again in 2013. The Office for Sustainability staff, and the Naropa Sustainability Council are currently working on implementation. Some of the highlights of the Climate Action Plan include:
- A commitment to carbon neutrality by 2040
- Annual greenhouse gas inventorying
- Commitments to build only LEED certified buildings
- Present sustainability projects for approval to the Board of Trustees annually
- Development of sustainable purchasing matrices
- Build a culture of sustainability within the Naropa community
- Integrate sustainability into the core learning curriculum
- Strive to power the university with 100% renewable energy
Commitment to Climate Justice
Naropa signed the American Colleges and Universities Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) in 2007. Since then, the ACUPCC has been re-branded as the “Carbon Commitment.” Some highlights of the ACUPCC and Carbon Commitment include:
- Develop an action plan for becoming climate neutral within two years of signing
- Establish a policy that all new construction be rated at least LEED silver
- Encourage use and provide access to public transportation to all faculty, students and staff
- Within one year of signing, purchase at least 15% of electricity from renewable sources
In an effort to keep pace with the changing landscape of sustainability on campuses across North America and beyond, Naropa is looking to expand its commitments to sustainability by signing the “Climate Commitment” which includes a resilience aspect. This signing will most likely occur during Sustainability Day in the Fall of 2016 and below are some additional aspects that would be included in the Climate Commitment:
- Define thresholds of resilience for the university to meet, taking into account the wider community vulnerabilities as well
- Actively support a joint campus-community task force to bring alignment of Climate Action Plan with the wider community’s goals
- Within two years of signing, complete a campus-community resilience assessment
- Submit an annual evaluation of progress
Greenhouse Gas Inventory
Greenhouse gas (GHG) inventorying is a pillar of Naropa’s Climate Action Plan. It is our primary means of gauging progress toward climate neutrality by 2040, and can help us determine areas of improvement. We performed GHG inventories from 2008-2010, however due to staffing cutbacks we were not been able to re-energize GHG inventories until 2016. Our Climate Action Plan includes a summary of GHG inventories; new inventory data will be posted soon.
In the past, Naropa used the Campus Carbon Calculator, developed by the Sustainability Institute at the University of New Hampshire, to perform the GHG inventory. Since that time, the tool has been changed to SIMAP (Sustainability Indicator Management and Analysis Platform), and it includes a large range of metrics such as:
- Faculty/Staff Commuting
- Student Commuting
- Directly Financed Air Travel
- Student Travel to/from Home
- Solid Waste
- Purchased energy and natural gas
Naropa University has two solar photovoltaic (PV) power systems: one on the print shop building and a larger array on top of the Pamela Krasney Pavillion, both on the Arapahoe Campus. View real-time feedback from, and information about, our solar power panels.
In addition to the solar panels, Naropa university purchases Renewable Energy certificates or carbon offsets every year. In 2017, Naropa University purchased 1,484,160 kWh of carbon offsets, certifying that the carbon emissions from heating and lighting our four campuses were balanced by an equal mass of carbon being captured at the Larimer County Landfill. Read about this, and our new partnership with Colorado Carbon Fund.
In the fall of 2013, Naropa made history by becoming the first university to completely divest its holdings in companies identified as having the highest potential greenhouse gas emissions. This came after a presentation to the Board of Trustees by a group of environmentally conscious students. Naropa’s Board of Trustees concluded that the divestment would not threaten the stability of the stock portfolio. In reaching the decision to divest, Naropa’s Endowment Committee took a values-centered approach to investing which created a clear context for the decision.
Naropa’s portfolio at the time of divestment was approximately $6.25 million, and the total amount divested was more than $104,000. The decision places Naropa among a dozen colleges and universities in the United States that are leading the charge toward more environmentally responsible investing. The full range of these actions included freezing any new investment in fossil fuel companies and divestment from direct ownership and any commingled funds that include fossil fuel public equities and corporate bonds within five years.
Naropa University is committed to investing our endowment assets in a manner consistent with the Buddhist precept of “not causing harm.” Thus, the Naropa University Endowment strives, on a best-efforts basis, to avoid investment in primary manufacturers of weapons systems, tobacco, alcohol, or gambling products, as well as companies with egregious records of environmental damage, discriminatory behavior, or poor employee relations. Additionally, we strongly encourage investment in corporations that provide active solutions to social and environmental challenges.
Declaration of Climate Emergency
As institutions and networks of higher and further education from across the world, we collectively declare a Climate Emergency in recognition of the need for a drastic societal shift to combat the growing threat of climate change.
The young minds that are shaped by our institutions must be equipped with the knowledge, skills and capability to respond to the ever-growing challenges of climate change. We all need to work together to nurture a habitable planet for future generations and to play our part in building a greener and cleaner future for all.
We are today committing to collectively step up to the challenge by supporting a three-point plan which includes: 1. Mobilizing more resources for action-oriented climate change research and skills creation; 2. Committing to going carbon neutral by 2030 or 2050 at the very latest; 3. Increasing the delivery of environmental and sustainability education across curriculum, campus and community outreach programmes.
We call on governments and other education institutions to join us in declaring a Climate Emergency and back this up with actions that will help create a better future for both people and our planet.