Steps to sustainability: NAU Green Fund finances Climate Action Plan

The Northern Arizona University Green Fund has allocated a portion of its yearly budget to provide majority funding for the NAU Climate Action Plan (CAP), a strategic document to create a more sustainable institution and a guide for lessening consumption and carbon emissions at the university.

The Green Fund is a committee of students, staff and faculty who oversee the Green Fee students pay with tuition.

The approved funding for CAP reinforces climate and carbon neutrality as priorities of NAU’s student body. This approval has allowed NAU to hire consultants from AEI Engineering to compile and analyze data on emissions and resource usage campus wide to develop targets and roadmaps for the new 2020 CAP.

The new CAP will ensure that campus and greater Flagstaff communities are increasingly resilient to the impacts of climate change and held accountable for their contributions to the issue. It also comes at a critical time for sustainability work at the university.

In 2010, NAU created the first CAP centered on achieving carbon neutrality by 2020. Despite the plan creating the foundation for various facets of sustainability work on campus, such as the Office of Sustainability and the Green Fund, it was not enough to reach the ambitious goal in a decade.

In 2018, the City of Flagstaff passed its Climate Action and Adaptation Plan with a goal of carbon neutrality by 2030 and declared a City Climate Emergency. This spurred NAU to reevaluate its efforts to algin more closely with Flagstaff’s initiatives and work toward creating a more thorough, well-planned CAP that sets realistic goals achieved through concrete steps and realistic action items.

The 2020 plan will improve upon previous efforts of the university, including specific carbon reduction targets with active tracking and substantial commitments from stakeholders on and off campus. Furthermore, it will allow NAU to create a framework for its own sustainable future through the implementation of the Living Laboratory initiative, a concept to define how research, campus needs and student learning can come together to foster an active learning community.

To track the progress of the Climate Action Plan, visit the CAP webpage.

If you have an idea to make campus more sustainable, fill out the Green Fund idea summary.

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