Just over a year ago, FPSE created a Climate Emergency Ad Hoc committee. A meeting of several interested presidents and reps from each of the locals was convened. The purpose was to find out what meaningful climate action initiatives were taking place at the locals and how FPSE could support them. Our president, Chris, called a meeting at our local of interested CCFA members to discuss this initiative. It soon became clear that we also wanted to see more action here at Camosun. We wanted to increase the profile of the climate emergency and take meaningful actions to address it. We recruited people from other areas of the college (management, CUPE, students, etc.), and called ourselves the Camosun College Climate Coalition (C4). We have been meeting monthly and are working on the following:
We began by studying the College’s current sustainability plan which expires this year. This plan outlines objectives in four areas; food, waste, energy, and transportation. We also studied plans from other institutions (UBC, BCIT, SFU, and UVic). These other plans provided new ideas and also revealed gaps in our plan. We have developed a new section for the college’s sustainability plan – climate action. It includes initiatives such as declaring a climate emergency, hiring a permanent sustainability manager, measuring our entire carbon foot print, replacing green house gas emitting building systems, exploring education opportunities, and working with other groups. It has been submitted to the acting sustainability manager as recommendations for the next sustainability plan.
We began exploring the process for divestment from fossil fuels by the Camosun College Foundation (UVic has recently implemented a major divestment initiative). Our inquiries as to the amount of the foundation’s fossil fuel investments have not yet been answered. This initiative is currently on hold.
Climate emergency declaration
More than 7000 colleges and universities throughout the world have signed a letter declaring a climate emergency. We have initiated and are supporting such a declaration here at Camosun. The board has recently passed a motion to develop climate emergency declaration language. The acting sustainability manager has created a plan to engage the larger college community in creating this declaration.
Corner post 4 of our strategic plan is ‘Sustainability for the Environment and Society’ with the goal of providing leadership on social, economic and environmental issues. The strategic plan is due to be renewed soon and we are examining how we could strengthen this pillar.
Plant based food choices
A sub committee of C4 is exploring ways to raise the profile of plant based food options at all of the College’s food services.
We have a dedicated and engaged group of people working on these initiatives. As they are completed, we will be pursuing othes. Through this work the committee not only intends to help reduce our own impact on the climate, but also to highlight and utilize the opportunities that arise from addressing climate change. You are welcome to join us.