Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

October 21, 2016   |   Ithaca, NY


Editorial: College must prioritize sustainability

Ithaca College failed to meet the latest milestone in the Climate Action Plan this year. The goal was to decrease total emissions by 25 percent from 2007, but emissions increased by 7 percent in electricity usage and 8 percent in natural gas consumption between 2012 and 2013. This increase was attributed by Lew Durland, director of energy management and sustainability, to staffing changes and the addition of the Athletics and Events Center.

This goal was not the only incomplete milestone for 2015. Although the college maintains it will be carbon neutral by 2050, one must question its dedication. Sustainability should be a top priority, not only for this college but for every person and institution. Those who don’t prioritize sustainability should remember that California has been slated to run out of water in a year, or recall the harsher-than-usual snowstorms in Boston that the Center for American Progress attributed to climate change. The multiple deadlines missed do not reflect well on the college and suggest this issue is not being given the attention it deserves.

The A&E Center has been criticized for structural issues, and now it is responsible for an increase in emissions. In fact, Durland said the A&E Center is the most energy-consumptive building on campus. Although the A&E Center certainly adds to the campus, it is evident the Climate Action Plan was not given much thought when planning the building, otherwise the increase in emissions would have been accounted for. The college needs to make a change in its planning process so it can meet its goals. The CAP deserves to be taken seriously. The college must take responsibility for the excess emissions and other failed deadlines within the CAP and make adjustments accordingly, so we can be the green and sustainable campus we claim to aspire to be.