Sustainability at BC in wake of UN Climate Report

Massive food shortages, extreme weather conditions, and decimated coral reefs could become the norm by 2030. The UN Climate Report for 2018 has been released, and is alarming readers.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, has declared a race to reduce climate change’s impact. According to the IPCC report, “Human activities are estimated to have caused approximately 1.0°C of global warming above pre-industrial levels, with a likely range of 0.8°C to 1.2°C”.

The UN IPCC has already expressed concerns over the irreversible damage if the Earth hits 1.5 degrees Celsius. 6,000 studies were compiled by the work of 91 authors to investigate the potential impact of climate change. According to the report, if the Earth hits 1.5 degrees Celsius there will be no way to reverse this damage.

The IPCC report does mention corporations that are being subsidized for their unclean energy in gas, diesel and carbon emissions as a major issue. However, there is still individual work that can be done to lessen the state of global warming on a community, state, country and worldwide level.

Bellevue College is always striving for more ways to make sustainability an easy practice though simple, educational resources on campus reaching all of the students enrolled, as well as staff and faculty. BC is reducing the effects of climate change by educating more than just the community, but by also leading the way for other colleges across the state and country.

The S building is LEED Gold certified, and the new Residential Housing is built to be LEED Platinum certified, which is the highest rating a building can receive. Buildings C and R are also equipped with solar panels. Director of Sustainability Amber Nicholson stated, “As well, Bellevue College is a part of a program called Green Direct through Puget Sound Energy, which will provide the college with nearly 100% renewable electricity, wind and solar, for ten years beginning in 2021.”

Bellevue College is prompting all to contribute and continue long term improvement that will ease the rise of temperature, natural disasters and diminishing food supply from the UN Climate Change report.

“Bellevue College does a great job at incorporating sustainability into all aspects of the learning experience, through curriculum programs like the Sustainability Concentration, our campus operations, or campus-wide events like Earth Week,” stated Nicholson

The campus offers lids, cups and straws that are compostable, and in the cafeteria there are compost, recycling and landfill separation bins. These provide examples and educational boards with information on where to sort trash, recycling and compost. Reusing water bottles and utilizing BCs water refill stations are highly encouraged.

Bike racks are provided around campus and also at the new residential housing. The 1st and 4th floors of the parking garage provide covered and secured bike parking. Having these alternatives to commuting does make a difference, and BC is able to provide ease to students while also lowering their carbon footprint. For more information about bike rentals, students are encouraged to visit the PALS Center in C105.

Students who commute with three or more passengers qualify for the carpool parking pass. Carpool parking is on the 1st floor of the parking garage marked specifically “Carpool Only”.

Buses come through campus Monday through Friday making it easier to transport students and reduce emissions. For students who drive with electric cars, the BC Sustainability website states that “Bellevue College was the first college in the western US to install a DC Fast Charging Station for electric vehicles.”

BC’s Sustainability website provides a resource map of many of the sustainability resources for all to benefit from, including a garden and greenhouse. The greenhouse is located “behind the Art Wing of the C building, and it is known as Building F” Amber Nicholson noted. According to BC’s Sustainability website, this community garden is part of the BC garden club that “educate students about food sustainability and security”.

BC also provides clubs to get students involved with sustainability practices and life-long education. Some of these include the Beekeeping Society, Garden Club, Sustainable Food Group and VegAware. For more information about clubs, visit http://bellevuecollege.edu/organizations/chartered-clubs.

Students who wish to be more involved and learn about the sustainability research, education and involvement on campus should check out the BC sustainability website. It provides resources of volunteering and research and can be found at  https://www.bellevuecollege.edu/sustainability/get-involved/.

While the UN Climate Change Report fuels many emotions, BC is actively attempting to reduce the effects of climate change for future generations to come.

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