Renewable Energy at WWU:
Global Climate Change:
- WWU is home to Huxley College of the Environment, one of the oldest environmental colleges in the United States. Huxley College was established in 1969 and grants degrees in environmental sciences and environmental studies.
- In 2004, a student body initiative was passed by 84.7% requiring that the university purchase purely renewable energy to offset the campus’ carbon emissions.
- In 2009, the AS Board of Directors voted unanimously to give each student a “green fee” of seven dollars per quarter, creating funding for student-led environmentally friendly projects. More about the Green Fee here.
Global Climate Change:
- In order to keep global warming below two degrees Celsius, only 565 gigatons of carbon dioxide can be burned, total. The fossil fuel industry has about five times that amount in their reserves and would have to leave 80% of their reserves in the ground in order to meet this goal, according to 350.org.
- Fossil Fuel extraction techniques include mountaintop removal, coal mining, oil drilling, hydraulic fracturing for natural gas. These methods put the health of local communities at risk by contaminating their water supplies, according to Appalachian Son.
- A variety of universities have begun a green revolving fund (GRF) which invests in renewable energy sources and sustainability projects; returns go into greener investments. The median return on investments for these schools is 28%, exceeding the 7-12% returns on typical investments, according to a study by Sustainable Endowments Institute and the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.
- On Jan. 8, 2014, Goldman Sachs sold off its 49% stake in SSA Marine, which was pushing to build a coal export terminal in Bellingham, Wash., according to an article in The Stranger.
- If WWU’s Foundation Board does not agree to divest, the university will continue to invest in fossil fuel companies. In this case, WWU would continue contributing to fossil fuel companies which lobby in Washington and continue to use the 2,825 gigatons of carbon dioxide in their reserves.
- If WWU’s Foundation Board agrees to divest, Western would be one of the first public universities to divest from fossil fuel companies.
More ways to get involved:
"The number 350 means climate safety...We believe that a global grassroots movement can hold our leaders accountable to the realities of science and the principles of justice." Check out the website to learn more!
Connect with 350 Bellingham:
Go Fossil Free is leading divestment campaigns all over the world. The concept is simple: "If it is wrong to wreck the climate, then it is wrong to profit from that wreckage." Learn all about it:
Connect with Go Fossil Free:
WWU's Office of Sustainability has a wealth of information, resources, projects, and ways to get involved on campus. Find out what's being done right here at Western to uphold our sustainability values!
Connect with Western Sustainability: