Kean University President Dawood Farahi, Ph.D., has signed the We Are Still In pledge, promising that Kean will support Paris Agreement climate action, despite the United States withdrawal from the agreement. Hundreds of college and university leaders, mayors, governors, businesses and investors across the country have signed the pledge, vowing to help the U.S. reach the carbon emission reduction goals it set as part of the 2016 agreement.
“Kean University has demonstrated its commitment to combatting global warming through our programs at the School of Environmental and Sustainability Sciences, and our on-campus composter, recycling efforts and eco-friendly building strategy,” said Farahi. “We are ready to do our part to keep the U.S. on track to reach its Paris Agreement targets.”
We Are Still In reads, in part, “It is imperative that the world know that in the U.S., the actors that will provide the leadership necessary to meet our Paris commitment are found in city halls, state capitals, colleges and universities, investors and businesses. Together, we will remain actively engaged with the international community as part of the global effort to hold warming to well below 2°C and to accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy that will benefit our security, prosperity, and health.”
Daniela Shebitz, Ph.D., program coordinator for environmental biology and sustainability science at the Kean University School of Environmental and Sustainability Sciences, says the We Are Still In pledge is the classic example of think globally, act locally.
“Instead of waiting for the federal government to take the initiative, we are saying this is very important,” said Shebitz. “Locally, we can have a huge impact. If everybody gets involved, we could have just as much effect, if not more, than we would have had at the federal level. There is this public drive which will dictate change.”
The School of Environmental and Sustainability Sciences (SESS) educates the next generation of leaders in environmental, life and sustainability sciences. Offering a wide variety of degree programs, SESS gives students real-world experience, conducting research and restoring natural environments in sites around the world, including Costa Rica and the Pine Barrens and the Highlands in New Jersey. In the Highlands, the University is developing a new eco-friendly state-of-the-art facility, which will serve as a living laboratory for students engaged in research and scientific study, while continuing to protect the area’s natural environment.
Kean’s sustainability efforts include composting its food waste since 2010, incorporating energy efficient design into new buildings, instituting a single stream recycling program, and collecting electronics waste and toner cartridges for recycling. These efforts lower the University’s carbon emissions significantly – the equivalent of taking 500 cars off the road each year.
School of Environmental and Sustainability Sciences students take measurements in the New Jersey Pine Barrens where they are helping to restore a former cranberry bog to natural wetlands. Kean University is a signatory to the We Are Still In pledge, promising to support Paris Agreement climate action.