Center for Leadership in Global Sustainability (CLiGS) partners with Terrapass to offset its air travel carbon emissions
Submitted by Virginia Tech Center for Leadership in Global Sustainability
Fall semester 2019, the Virginia Tech Center for Leadership in Global Sustainability (CLiGS) will begin mitigating the carbon emissions from the air travel of both its students and faculty. Working with the company Terrapass, CLiGS will contribute to a portfolio that invests in renewable energy and methane recapture. CLiGS is the first group within Virginia Tech to launch this kind of climate action initiative.
“We believe strongly that exposure to other countries, cultures, and international environmental challenges is fundamental for sustainability professionals. Of course, providing these educational opportunities requires international air travel,” says Dr. Michael Mortimer, Founding Director of the Center for Leadership in Global Sustainability. On average, every year CLiGS’ people cumulatively travel more than one million air miles, emitting some 165 metric tons of carbon, visiting Cuba, China, India, Morocco, Egypt, Spain, Argentina, Croatia, Iceland, and South Africa, as part of Global Study, a required component in the Center’s graduate degree program.
“Until we, as individuals within organizations, internalize our actions and the impact we have on carbon emissions, we will be challenged to make any meaningful progress in creating a sustainable human ecosystem for future generations,” offered Dr. Paul Winistorfer, Dean of the College of Natural Resources and Environment, where CLiGS is based. “We need social change. That starts with individuals and what we value as individuals. I am pleased that Director Mortimer and his staff are making a proactive commitment to bring additional focus to the issues of climate and carbon emissions.”
While CLiGS has been working on formalizing its carbon offsets program for some time, climate change has been top of mind for many on and around campus in recent weeks. On Friday, September 20th, 2019, Virginia Tech students joined millions of young people around the world in the Global Climate Strike. Among their top issues was divesting the university from fossil fuels. As reported by Collegiate Times, “Chants echoed across campus demanding ‘climate justice,’ and ‘no more coal, no more oil, keep your carbon in the soil.’”
The carbon neutrality movement is gaining force in higher education institutions worldwide. Already, 193 higher ed institutions representing approximately 3,851,552 students, three Student Unions, and 49 networks representing approximately 8,883 institutions have signed the Global Climate Emergency Letter, calling on peers and governments “to join us in declaring a Climate Emergency and back this up with actions that will help create a better future for both people and our planet.” Climate Strike protesters at Virginia Tech urged the university’s president to sign the letter, as well.
“Offsetting our air travel carbon emissions is a big step for our Center, but still a small step in the larger academic landscape,” says Dr. Mortimer, adding, “The word ‘leadership’ is in our name, so we will do just that.”
To learn more about the Virginia Tech Center for Leadership in Global Sustainability carbon offsets program, please contact Katerina Martchouk, Marketing Director.
About the Virginia Tech Center for Leadership in Global Sustainability:
Founded in 2014, the Center for Leadership in Global Sustainability (CLiGS) equips current and aspiring environmental and sustainability professionals with the credentials, competencies, connections, and confidence to become more effective leaders, now and in the future. CLiGS is housed within Virginia Tech's College of Natural Resources and Environment and headquartered in Arlington, Virginia.
The Virginia Tech Center for Leadership in Global Sustainability (CLiGS) equips current and aspiring environmental, sustainability, and climate professionals with the credentials, competencies, connections, and confidence to become more effective leaders, now and in the future.