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April 22, 2010

CCNY Marks Earth Day with Festival, Climate Plan Debut

 CCNY Green logo

Culminating a week filled with environment-related events, The City College of New York (CCNY) holds its annual Earth Day Festival 12 noon – 2 p.m. Thursday, April 22.  The same day, the College will make public its draft Climate Action Plan developed by CCNY Green, the College’s sustainability task force, and invite comments on the plan from the College community.

“Since signing on to the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment in 2007, CCNY has done much to integrate sustainability into all aspects of campus life,” said Interim President Robert E. Paaswell.  “This week’s events are an outgrowth of this activity, and our Climate Action Plan outlines the steps we will take over the next 40 years to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions to an effective level of zero.”

The Earth Day Festival will feature several activities intended to increase awareness and action among students as well as faculty and staff.  Campus groups including NYPIRG (New York Public Interest Research Group), Undergraduate Student Government and WeACT will staff information tables or hold events.  

In addition, a Caribbean dance event will provide information about the potable water situation in Haiti and a healthy foods event will present cooking and healthy food demonstrations and samples.  Also planned are a gardening demonstration, to support the St. Luke’s garden project, and education sessions on the impact of climate changes on communities of color and of low economic status.  Thursday evening, the film “Fresh,” a 2009 documentary about Americans who are reinventing our food system, will be shown at the Towers Residence Hall.

Events held earlier in the week include a week-long recycling drive organized by the CCNY Green Student Engagement Committee to collect used cell phones, batteries and clothing; a sustainable vehicle exhibition on Monday, April 19, featuring President Paaswell’s hybrid car; a Green Planet Society event on Tuesday, April 20, and NOAA-CREST Day, Wednesday, April 21, featuring presentations on research activities and internship opportunities.

The Climate Action Plan was produced as part of CCNY’s commitment to the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment.  When the College signed onto this pact, it pledged to develop a plan for achieving climate neutrality, i.e. net zero greenhouse gas emissions, by 2050.  
Some of the measures incorporated into the plan will also help the College meet the goals of the CUNY Sustainability Initiative, which is part of Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC program.  CUNY has pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent by 2017.

Among the highlights of CCNY’s Climate Action Plan are:

•    $144 million of critical physical plant improvements that are included in CUNY’s capital plan and that will result in significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

•    Increased collaboration among our faculty to build upon our leadership in the fields of energy usage, water conservation and sustainability.

•    A renewed commitment to recycling, conservation and reuse in campus life.

A copy of the draft plan is available for comment on the CCNY Green website at  Comments should be directed to Holly Kallman, campus sustainability coordinator,, and sent no later than April 30 for inclusion in the final draft, which will be submitted to the Presidents’ Climate Commitment in mid May.