University Sustainability

Defining Sustainability since 1899

Green Spotlight Blogs

The Green Spotlight blogs allow students, faculty, staff, and friends of Appalachian a chance to express, in their own words, their personal connection to sustainability.

Eric Halvarson - Appalachian Responds to Urgency of IPCC Report

Attention fellow residents of Earth! On October 8th, the International Panel on Climate Change released a report that calls for urgent action to transform to a carbon neutral society to avoid global warming of 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. The report names 2030 as the new goal for the end of carbon emissions, or else face powerful, destructive, and catastrophic impacts on our ecosystems, and therefore, our everything.

In Boone, the response has been rapid and powerful.

Professor of Sustainable Development at Appalachian State Dinesh Paudel, along with other faculty members from 10 other departments on campus, facilitated the event that saw close to 200 people flood the Calloway Peak room in the Plemmons Student Union on October 15th. Local activists, alumni, students, and university administrators were present to agree we have to act.

The question from here is “What’s next?” for many at Appalachian State and in Boone. The most enduring takeaway from the first meeting was the energy in the room. No doubt, there is a reservoir of passionate people who recognize the undeniable impacts this changing planet will have on our futures.

The most important takeaway is that we need to work together to make it happen. The Office of Sustainability is a well-supported group of staff working to bring App State to carbon neutrality, zero waste, and a culture of equity for people and environment. The office has been working towards this goal, but the broader community may not know what’s holding up the transformation to carbon neutrality. Thousands of students and local citizens are involved in non-profits, community organizations, clubs and alliances working towards mutually supportive goals to positive futures for people and planet. This coordination is a major challenge and process to support our comprehensive local efforts.

App State is uniquely supportive of sustainability, especially in the UNC system, yet despite this reputation, is far from carbon neutral. The University remains committed to a 2050 carbon neutrality goal, and the IPCC report is inspiring the call for a more urgent date of 2030.

The Office of Sustainability staff and Sustainability Ambassadors are a resource to help understand current university efforts, what barriers to change exist, provide ideas, and listen to your ideas about how to help get this climate transition on the road at a university level.

The Appalachian State University Climate Action group will meet again on November 14, from 4-6pm in the Plemmons Student Union Room 226 Linville Falls.

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