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Global Sustainability: A Green Curriculum Involves Everyone on the Campus [The Chronicle of Higher Education]

June 18, 2008

Recent graduates have a lot to learn about budgeting when they leave college. Many are financially on their own for the first time, and so rent, grocery bills, taxes, and, of course, student loans are expenditures they will need to balance against their incomes. In addition to those personal budgetary challenges, the lives of our graduates will be profoundly affected by impending national budget crises associated with the costs of war, a trade imbalance, Social Security, and health care. And as if those burdens were not enough, the graduates must concern themselves with a new category of budgeting, one that relates not to money but to carbon.

Today’s college graduates confront the first truly worldwide environmental challenge, that of balancing the carbon budget — the stocks and flow of carbon through the biosphere — to ameliorate the negative consequences of global climate change. Colleges and universities have an obligation to ensure that we provide our students with the knowledge and experience necessary to accomplish that challenging task. Many of those essential lessons can take place in classrooms, while an equally educational, parallel curriculum is embodied in the management and development of campus infrastructure, the maintenance of grounds, and the provisioning of food and transportation for our students. (Click here for the full article. Subscription only.)

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