“Engaging Peoples and Communities for Regional Sustainability”
As part of an elite consortium of liberal art colleges, Pitzer is nationally renowned for its Environmental Analysis program, core values of social responsibility, environmental sustainability, and student engagement, and a commitment to be mindful of the future. For our generation, one of the greatest threats to this common future is that of a changing climate and relatedly dire socio-environmental problems. In the Southern California region, environmental challenges include water scarcity compounded by historically unprecedented drought, population growth coupled with growing economic inequality, and the disproportionate allocation of environmental burdens and benefits. In light of these stark realities, Pitzer College has taken a leadership role in envisioning and helping create more environmentally sustainable and socially just ways of being in the world.
The establishment, in 2012, of the Robert Redford Conservancy for Southern California Sustainability (click here for more on our procedural history) is a key part of Pitzer’s drive to expand on the College’s legacy of actions that promote socio-environmental awareness and wellbeing. As a result of work between trustees, students, faculty and staff, for example, in 2014 Pitzer became the 11th college in the United States of America to divest from the top 200 fossil fuel companies with the largest reserves, the first in Southern California, and the largest endowment in higher education at the time to divest. Divestment was just the starting point, however. As part of a holistic climate-action model, Pitzer has created a Sustainability Fund within its endowment to make environmentally responsible investments, is on track to reduce the College’s carbon footprint by 25% from current levels by 2016, and has institutionalized a Campus Sustainability Task Force to bolster on-campus sustainability initiatives. Our goal is to be carbon neutral by 2050, if not earlier.
The Redford Conservancy not only serves as a locus to facilitate action on Pitzer’s sustainability commitments, but it is also a leader in innovative academic programming and interdisciplinary education around environmental challenges. Academically driven by the liberal arts, and guided by Pitzer College’s core values of social responsibility and environmental sustainability, we engage interdisciplinary and collaborative approaches to environmental problem solving. The Redford Conservancy aims to promote both the longevity of Southern California’s natural environment, and the wellbeing of its peoples.
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