FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg and student Salome Garcia will join United States Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy Nov. 19 in Washington D.C. to call for action on climate change.
As of today, more than 200 universities representing 3.3 million students throughout the United States, including FIU, have signed the American Campuses Act on Climate pledge. The White House Council on Environmental Quality and the Department of State are assembling leaders from higher education to discuss how college campuses can address climate change, launching the American Campuses Act on Climate day-of-action. Part of the day’s event will be live-streamed in a Facebook-live session.
FIU’s School of Environment, Arts and Society and Sea Level Solutions Center will host watch parties starting at 2:30 p.m. in the Green Library’s north lakeside lounge area on the Modesto A. Maidique Campus and in the Mary Ann Wolfe Theater in the Wolfe University Center on the Biscayne Bay Campus.
The White House summit comes a little more than a week before the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) convenes in Paris, a United Nations meeting of all countries that want to take action on climate change. COP21 begins Nov. 30 and runs through Dec. 11.
This week’s White House summit is designed to energize college students to push for action locally and demand change globally. As part of the event, FIU is issuing a six-part pledge to promote low-carbon practices and operations throughout the university including:
- Build on the FIU Sea Level Solutions Center research and activities that integrate low carbon adaptation into regional climate resiliency plans.
- Build on its UniversityCity Prosperity Project, as a collaborative effort with Florida department of Transportation, Miami-Dade Expressway Authority, Miami-Dade Transit, City of Sweetwater and other, to reinvent multimodal transportation, reduce emissions, and other low-carbon solutions.
- Propose a green revolving fund for campus infrastructure or activities that reduce emissions.
- Commit to an increase of 15 points in the university STARS rating by May 2016, target a gold rating by 2017 and platinum rating by 2020.
- Begin submitting the university’s STARS report annually.
- Explore feasibility of expanding on-campus composting of dining facility food waste by bringing new industrial composter to FIU.
Garcia, a senior international relations and sociology student in the Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs, has been a vocal advocate for the environment while at FIU. She helped to organize the Climate Reality Project’s Know Tomorrow and 24 Hours of Reality campus events in recent weeks. She also serves as vice president of FIU’s Age of Aquarius, a student group that promotes ocean stewardship, with a special focus environmental research in the FIU Medina Aquarius Program and the Marine Education and Research Initiative in the College of Arts & Sciences.
“Throughout the past years, we have seen first-hand the magnitude of the repercussions of our changing climate. …” Garcia said. “Because 50 percent of our coral reefs are still alive, because we have the chance — and we just need the momentum — we must stand, up, stand loud, stand together, in order to achieve positive change.”
The FIU watch parties for the White House American Campuses Act on Climate event are free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.