Earth, Wind, and Greenhouse Gases

Clark Works Towards Carbon Neutrality

Clark is headed towards emitting zero greenhouse gases by 2030. “Carbon Neutrality by 2030,” the initiative responsible for this goal, is overseen by Sustainable Clark, an administrative office located in Gates House on Charlotte Street.

Sustainable Clark progresses towards this goal by finding greener ways to operate the school, with projects such as Clark’s co-generational facility, which burns natural gas and uses steam byproduct to heat water. Clark also partners with SolarFlair, a solar energy company located in Ashland, Mass.

“We do a lot of paperwork, but it’s necessary,” said Robin Miller, a graduate assistant at Sustainable Clark. “And [the inventory] does help Clark evaluate where we’re using energy.”

Miller said that Clark having zero carbon emissions is technically unattainable because people will always be doing things like driving cars for school activities (which are logged in the Greenhouse Gas Inventory). Sustainable Clark recognizes these inevitable emissions and compensates for them by buying “offsets,” or stock, in green companies or causes. For example, the University buys stock in wind farms and donates money to protect forests to balance out the generated emissions.

“We still have time,” Miller said of the Carbon Neutrality goal. “But we’re going to have to do a lot more if we’re going to make it. Or we’re going to have to buy a lot more offsets, which is fine, but we’d rather physically reduce [it] here at Clark.”

In conjunction with Clark Sustainability Collaborative (CSC), a student organization, Sustainable Clark is working with all sustainability groups on campus in search of a greener future. To advance environmental work on campus, CSC receives a $20,000 grant for a student project each year.

Miller suggests that even little things like turning off a light switch when leaving a room can have a large impact on carbon neutrality – she calls these acts “planting seeds.” “It’s [giving] a little hint and watching those seeds take root, watching those little changes, and watching it eventually turn into something.”

Visit http://www.clarku.edu/offices/campussustainability/ to learn about the initiatives and goals of Sustainable Clark.