FSU Sustainable Campus “Climate Corner” Commencement
Understanding the news these days can be overwhelming, especially when it comes to the environment. We are constantly bombarded with stories centered around crisis and disaster and fear, so much so that the positive work being done is often buried. Even when it isn’t buried, it can be difficult to understand, filled with technical jargon, or just unclear on why it should matter to us. The purpose of Sustainable Campus’s “Climate Corner” is to help break down important sustainability news into something short, easy to read, and engaging! Understanding what’s going on in the world, from restoration efforts to environmental policy and more, can help you make informed decisions and provide a barrier from falling into the fatalistic mindset of “nothing is getting done, and there’s no point in trying.” Don’t worry if you have no experience in sustainability. In fact, that’s perfect! We’re here to make all the technical jargon accessible to everyone. In this introductory installment, we’re just looking to establish what the “Climate Corner” is, how and when it will be shared, where you can find it, and what exactly we mean by sustainability news.
What is “Sustainability News”?
To understand “sustainability news,” you’ll first want to understand what exactly we mean by sustainability. Sustainability is an incredibly general term, and if you were to look it up, you would likely find many loosely-related definitions from business to the environment to economics. The most universal of these definitions discusses how sustainability is the ability to coexist on and with the Earth in a way that can endure into the future. However, specific definitions have proven to be difficult to agree upon across various disciplines depending on their focus; whether that’s resiliency, conservation, environmental justice, or endurance. The UN describes sustainability as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (United Nations and Al-Farabi Kazakh National University). For “Climate Corner” purposes, we will focus our definition on the three pillars of sustainability described in the Brundtland Report (World Commission on Environment and Development): social equity, economic development, and environmental conservation. Therefore, any news that deals with one or more of these pillars qualifies under the umbrella of “sustainability news.”
Why is Understanding It Important?
While this subject may be immediately interesting to some of you, Florida State University has a wide variety of students. For many of you, this may fall outside of your field of study. You may be asking yourself the age-old questions of academics: Why is this important? When am I ever going to use this? Sustainability discourse gets off on this question a bit easier than some other subjects in that the uniting force is simple: we all live on Earth. We all live in societies affected by some aspect of sustainability. Understanding what’s happening and what's being done in the world around you can help alleviate anxiety, inspire personal action, and help you better comprehend how various actions may affect your everyday life. The only way to be able to make informed decisions is to have as much information as possible, and that’s where we come in!
According to the National Environmental Education Foundation, adults in the United States of America scored an average of 51 on exams centered around environmental literacy, and concern for the environment has actually decreased in the U.S. population between the years of 2000 and 2012 (NEEF 14-15). Though these numbers have likely improved since 2015 when the study was published, it still demonstrates a clear gap in knowledge amongst citizens in regards to events that could be deeply affecting them. One potential barrier is that many articles are filled with technical jargon or deeply intertwined with political propaganda. Our goal with “Climate Corner” is to break down important news and remove such barriers so that major news is accessible to everyone. We aim to ensure that you have quick, easy to understand, and relevant information easily available to help bridge the gap in environmental awareness and literacy.
Where Will I Be Able To Find The “Climate Corner”?
If anything we’ve said in the last few paragraphs has intrigued you, you should know where and when you can find us. Blog posts will come out as consistently as there is important news that needs to be broken down, and you’ll be able to find us on the FSU Sustainable Campus website under Blog as more installations are released!
Be on the lookout for more information coming soon on recent environmental news as we work to keep you up-to-date and knowledgeable about the sustainable world and campus around you!
NEEF. (2015) Environmental Literacy in the United States: An Agenda for Leadership in the 21st Century. Washington, DC: National Environmental Education Foundation.
United Nations and Al-Farabi Kazakh National University. “Sustainability.” United Nations Academic Impact, www.un.org/en/academic-impact/sustainability#:~:text=In%201987%2C%20the%20United%20Nations,development%20needs%2C%20but%20with%20the.
World Commission on Environment and Development. Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development: Our Common Future. 1987