University of Dayton’s sustainability expertise contributes to the Vatican Laudato Si ‘Platform for Action to Track Progress Towards Environmental Goals: University of Dayton, Ohio
The University of Dayton provided sustainability expertise to the Vatican in the development of the Laudato Si ‘Platform for Action to help track the goals of Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical on the environment.
The online platform the phased launch is May 25, with a full launch in early October.
Matthew Worsham, director of energy efficiency and renewable energy at UD, and Marianist sister Leanne Jablonski, also a researcher at the Hanley Sustainability Institute for Faith and the Environment, were part of the universities task force for the team of the Vatican Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development Laudato Si ‘Platform for Action. Rebecca Potter, Director of UD’s Sustainability Program and Program Director of the Hanley Sustainability Institute, was part of a team of universities in the dicastery focused on environmental education.
The trio shared the successes and challenges of UD’s sustainability efforts and how some successes could be implemented on the online platform. Their contribution included teaching sustainability in the classroom and experiential learning for students outside of the classroom. They also advised on the operation of the facilities and the best way to share information on sustainability within organizations.
The University caught the attention of the Vatican group, in part, through the work of the Hanley Sustainability Institute and the UD Division of Facilities Management and Planning with the Global Catholic Climate Movement sustainable installations working group.
“We reached out to relevant experts on campus and in the community to help answer questions from the working groups and help the Vatican build a library of resources and examples for other universities,” Worsham said. “The Vatican has seven Laudato Si ‘goals for the environmental and human rights change it wants to see in the world, and the working groups are helping the Vatican to apply its goals appropriately in these areas. For example, one approach is not for everyone. So we’ve shown how to apply the goals for higher education in the United States, while others have shown how to implement goals for schools of different sizes around the world. ”
The objectives of the encyclical are: to work towards carbon neutrality; defend human life; engage in sustainable production, fair trade, ethical consumption and investments; reduce the use of energy and resources; rethinking education around integral ecology; rediscover a religious vision of God’s creation; and emphasize community involvement and participatory action around the protection of creation at all levels of society.
“Catholics have a critical mass to collectively fight climate change, reduce economic poverty and achieve total sustainability through education, health care, environmental nonprofits, parishes and to religious congregations, such as our worldwide Marianist family, which is involved in many areas. Said Jablonski, who heads the Marianist Environmental Education Center and participated in the dedicated international religious initiative, Sowing hope for the planet.
Potter said the Vatican’s invitation to contribute to these issues has been an honor for the University.
“It has been a privilege to contribute to the common good and, as encyclical Laudato Si ‘ request, provide the means to take care of our common home. Working with other educators and sustainability advocates from universities around the world, the sense of a shared vision is truly inspiring. There is tremendous energy, faith and hope in this endeavor, “said Potter, who was instrumental in creating and now leads the University’s sustainability bachelor’s programs.” These are valuable experiences that we can bring to our students in the classroom, such as discussing and creating policy with a large international body or how others perceive and implement sustainability globally. ”
The University, which was the first Catholic college or university in the United States to disengage from fossil fuels, has been awarded the Gold Rating of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainable Development in Higher Education Tracking System, Sustainable Development Assessment and Rating (STARS). Its STARS score ranks first in Ohio and fifth among American Catholic colleges and universities. UD obtained perfect or near perfect marks for academic research; diversity and accessibility; coordination and sustainability planning; purchase; and innovation and leadership.
UD is also among the most environmentally friendly colleges in the country, according to The Princeton Review. Guide to green colleges: 2021 edition.
It is part of Second Nature’s commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and achieve carbon neutrality and to increase climate adaptation and resilience to face climate change and its resulting extremes. The University is also part of the Global Catholic Climate Movement and the United Nations Global Compact – the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative.
The University’s sustainability education initiatives, many of which are fueled by student leadership in and out of the classroom, received a boost in 2014 with a $ 12.5 million donation from the George and Amanda Hanley Foundation. The largest donation in university history also established the Hanley Sustainability Institute.
“I am so inspired by the creative leadership of the UD students who embody Laudato Si ‘through their sustainability initiatives which call on us all to protect the planet, the poor and future generations,” Jablonski said. We have shared much of their work during this process. , and this platform amplifies their impact towards Pope Francis’ goal of carbon neutrality by 2030. “
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