By Derek Newberry

Last night, Boston University’s Climate Action Task Force held a public forum to discuss methods for climate adaptation and mitigation with members of the Boston community and BU student body. The workshop was aimed at developing the task force’s (and BU’s) climate change preparation and readiness with a specific focus on energy sustainability, transportation issues, curriculum enhancement, and improvements to supply chain management and waste reduction. This forum not only expanded the community’s understanding and interest in climate adaptation while expanding the university’s reach, but it advanced one of USGBC MA’s advocacy initiativesClimate Adaptation Management and Planning, and Net Zero Action Planning.

If interested in watching a recording of the forum, click here.

Anthony Janetos, director of the Frederick S. Pardee Center at BU and chair of the task force, started the night with a brief presentation on the history of climate change, current CO2 levels, and impacts of a warming climate. He highlighted successful actions taken, including the university’s 25% reduction in energy use since 2006 (beating their 2020 goal by 4 years!), and mentioned critical actors and methods of growth including LEED certification in BU buildings.

He continued with the task force’s objective to create a Five-Point Plan that focuses on university operations (in terms of mitigation and adaptation), research, education, finance, and community engagement. The task force hopes to complete the plan by late summer to give the community and BU’s Board of Trustees time to approve and develop the plan for implementation. Following Janetos’ introduction, three other task force members discussed their focus areas with the audience, including supply chain and waste management, energy, and transportation. Then they turned it over to us, the audience, to figure these issues out.

Sitting amongst a handful of students, faculty, and David Frank, BU dining’s Sustainability Manager, we slowly started off the introductions and then quickly leapt into our focus area: supply chains and waste. Our discussion provided a wonderful insight into the general understanding of such problems and allowed task force members to move throughout the tables to answer questions and mull over ideas. Our group came up with meatless Mondays, community gardens, and demonstrations of public awareness and advocacy to name a few. Finally, each table presented their ideas and then Janetos finished off the night.

BU’s climate action plan, along with those from other universities, the city of Boston, and communities throughout Massachusetts, will all contribute to the expansion of successful climate adaptation management, promote public involvement, and accelerate state-level legislation and action. It’s discussions like this and the ideas and interactions they facilitate down the road that help the USGBC MA expand its involvement and promote a sustainable future. There will be another community forum on February 14, at 4pm at 72 East Concord Street (L) – Hiebert Lounge. RSVP here if interested, () and check out future events and involvement here.

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