Climate Action Plan
In March 2023, Concordia published its first Climate Action Plan. See the overview of the plan below and the full plan toward the end of this page. To download each document, click on the buttons above. To read the student speeches from the Climate Action Plan launch event in March, click here.
Climate Action Plan Overview
In 2017, President Craft signed the national Integrated Climate Commitment run by Second Nature, a nonprofit working to accelerate climate action in institutions of higher education. By signing the commitment, Concordia College pledged to respond to climate change in the following three ways:
- Reducing carbon emissions in order to become 100% carbon neutral by 2050.
- Working with partners to improve community resilience in the face of climate change impacts.
- Ensuring that all students acquire the knowledge and skills needed to act on climate issues.
Why are we doing this work?
- To enhance the educational experience of our students
- To prepare our students for engaged citizenship
- To care for our home, the Earth
- To play our part as a responsible institution
- To work for equity and justice
- To enact the ELCA's call to care for creation
Carbon Emissions Reduction
Concordia's long-term goal is to reach carbon neutrality by 2050. Our focus for these first few years of the plan will be on strategies that are low cost and quick to implement, such as behavior changes.
Over the long run, the strategy that will have the most impact on our carbon emissions is switching the college to a geothermal system for heating and cooling. Toward the latter half of this decade, we will be working to determine whether this is a feasible option for our campus.
Resilience and Ecological Health
Resilience is defined as the ability of a system or community to survive disruption and to anticipate, adapt, and flourish in the face of change. In the context of climate change, becoming more resilient involves (1) increasing the ability of the community to adapt to the impacts of these negative trends and (2) enabling the community to play positive roles in promoting climate stability and ecological health.
Our work in this area focuses on building collaborative partnerships, advancing equity, and promoting the health of the ecological systems of which Concordia is a part.
Climate and Sustainability Education
Climate change is a complex challenge that calls for action by people equipped with the skills and dispositions that Concordia nurtures in its students. By focusing on the challenge of climate change, in tandem with a focus on justice, Concordia can reenergize the liberal learning mission of the college over the next few decades. It is hoped that every graduate will contribute to a systemic redesign that prioritizes carbon neutrality, resilience, sustainability, and intersectional environmental justice.
All aspects of the Climate Action Plan will be pursued with attention to the financial health of the college. One aspect of the plan that will require significant financial investment over many years is the geothermal system, which final decisions will be made about in the latter half of this decade.
We recognize that our 2050 goal is far away, so our implementation will ebb and flow as circumstances, technologies, and knowledge advance.