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Want us to change the world? Leave us a world to change, Crawford.

The following reflects the majority opinion of the editorial board.

Last Friday, participants in Miami University’s climate strike stood outside the Marcum Hotel & Conference Center and called for President Greg Crawford to sign The Presidents’ Climate Leadership Commitments (PCLC). 

Crawford could hardly face the protestors, let alone give them an answer. 

The Miami Student believes Crawford’s refusal to sign the PCLC and take serious action against climate change signifies Miami’s lack of commitment to their students’ future. 

In what resembled a low-grade hostage negotiation, Crawford allowed four representatives of the climate strike into the Board of Trustees (BoT) meeting. He informed those students that the standards outlined in the PCLC were “a minimum” of what could be done.

In place of the PCLC, Crawford and the BoT’s sustainability committee intend to propose a plan of action by Jan. 1, 2020 for university-wide carbon neutrality. 

But why not sign both the board’s plan along with the PCLC? 

Currently, the sustainability department within Miami’s Department of Physical Facilities has two employees. That’s what the bare minimum looks like.

Miami says the university has not burned any coal since 2017, but Miami’s 2019 Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) reveals 49.8 percent of Miami’s electricity came from coal. 

What good is not burning coal on campus if you’re just going to do it somewhere else? The negative impact is still there, it’s just happening to a community we can’t see.

STARS reported only 4.19 percent of energy consumed by Miami’s campus comes from clean or renewable resources.

If the PCLC were implemented, a third party program would help Miami set and adhere to specific goals aimed at reducing our environmental impact. Nearly 400 universities have committed to reaching carbon neutrality by 2050. Some smaller universities reached this goal in only a few years with the help of the PCLC. 

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In order to make the PCLC a financially viable solution, Miami could participate in  a Carbon Credit and Purchasing Program (C2P2). The revenue gained from these sales are then invested in sustainability projects on campus, creating a positive feedback loop of funding and progress. 

Signing the PCLC would require Miami to be transparent when reporting progress on achieving its goals to improve campus sustainability, increasing the likelihood that our questions would be met with real answers rather than a rehearsed PR line. 

We want the university to stop creating goals that are convenient when there are third party options that can hold Miami accountable for making serious strides in sustainability. 

This is not the first time the Miami community has asked Crawford to sign these commitments, and, unfortunately, we don’t believe it will be the last. Luckily, we have an editorial to write every week. We’ll keep fighting this, and we know the Miami community will, too.

Climate change is a threat to every current and prospective student at Miami. Our quarter life crises are looking more like midlife crises as the impacts of climate change are starting to be felt across America and the rest of the world and our global life expectancy looks to be cut short. 

We should recognize the signs all around us — the unusually powerful tornados that hit Dayton this summer, or the fact that it’s going to be over 90 degrees on the first day of October. 

The student body and the scientific data have made it clear that taking action against climate change is of dire importance, and Miami is just a microcosm for what is occurring on a national and global level. 

Regardless of a person’s age, someone they love is going to be negatively impacted by climate change, and the individuals who have the power to truly make a positive impact on our future continue to do nothing.  

The administration can’t honestly encourage us to leave Miami and change the world if they’re not going to commit to ensuring that we’ll have a world left to change. 

We are tired of the excuses. 

We want action, we want transparency and we want a leader who will actually open the door to students when they ask for his help. 

We want Crawford to sign the PCLC.


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