Skip Navigation

Thinking Globally, Acting Locally

Those in the campus community concerned about global warming gathered Jan. 31 for "Focus the Nation: Global Warming Solutions for America," a daylong event held concurrently at campuses nationwide.

Experts agree that another seven years of business-as-usual will spell disaster. Everything we do now matters.

This article was first published by UCLA Today Online.

By Judy Lin   

Those in the campus community concerned about global warming gathered Jan. 31 for "Focus the Nation: Global Warming Solutions for America," a daylong event held concurrently at campuses nationwide.

At UCLA, experts and guest speakers shared their perspectives on issues at Ackerman Grand Ballroom while outside on Bruin Plaza, crowds enjoyed art and musical performances and a vendor fair that showcased the work of environmentally friendly organizations.

"You're pioneers," Chancellor Gene Block told the audience in the ballroom before presentations began. "You recognize the issues — really vexing issues we're facing worldwide."

Emphasizing the urgency of global warming, Thomas B. Smith, director of the Institute of the Environment, warned, "Experts agree that another seven years of business-as-usual will spell disaster. Everything we do now matters."

Block applauded the institute for a decade of work generating policy solutions and educational programs promoting sustainability. He also cited some 20 academic and research programs campuswide that seek solutions, and he commended the Campus Sustainability Committee for raising awareness of environmental issues.

Mary Nichols, chair of the California Air Resources Board, described a future state requirement that 800 of California's largest organizations report their greenhouse gas emissions — an action UCLA is already voluntarily taking, she noted.

UCLA's challenges are formidable, but progress is being made, said Associate Vice Chancellor of General Services Jack Powazek, who oversees numerous campus efforts to reduce energy consumption.

"Energy consumption — electricity, cooling, heating and more — represents 85% of our carbon footprint," Powazek said. So far, the campus has been able to reduce energy consumption on a per-square-foot basis by 13% between 2000 and 2007, a testament to the success of such programs as retrofitting campus lighting with energy-efficient lamps and the annual winter campus closure.

Powazek also lauded the Transportation Department's success in cutting auto emissions by encouraging carpools, vanpools, public transportation and biking to work.

UCLA, concluded Block, "can be a beacon" for change. "We must use all of our assets — our scholarship, our creativity, our technology — to adopt a sustainable way of life."

To print this page, select "Print" from the File menu of your browser.