College Leaders Push Plan To Support Green Education

By CityTownInfo.com Staff
July 9, 2009

Over 100 college leaders have signed a letter proposing a plan to use 1 percent of proceeds from carbon emissions allowances--a possible $1 billion--for education in the fields of clean energy, environmental literacy and sustainability. The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that the plan, called "1% for Education," will be presented to leaders in the U.S. Senate by Friday.

The letter lists several ways to boost investment in green education, including by retooling universities and colleges to become centers of education, workforce training and research in alternative energy, energy efficiency and new technologies. The plan also calls for bolstering career pathways programs to provide more green educational training opportunities.

"Climate change is the defining challenge of our century, a challenge that will directly impact every sector of society," reads the letter, which was circulated by the organization Second Nature. "In all likelihood, the pace of change will rival or exceed the past quarter century's information technology revolution. How the American people respond to the climate challenge will determine the United States' standing in the world for decades to come.

"In our view," reads the letter, "dedicating '1% for Education' of the proceeds of emissions allowances is a strategic investment in the American people that will pay rich dividends."

The push for additional funding for green education comes as career experts are noticing increased growth and job demand in the green sector. "The word of the year is 'green,'" said Carla Cardoza, career director at Texas' El Paso Community College in a recent interview with CityTownInfo.com. She noted that many are "seeing a lot of job offers for technical positions related to the creation of solar panels and wind turbines, as well as maintenance. There are many job openings in the green sector."

The Chronicle notes that Jim Elder, director of the Campaign for Environmental Literacy, said that if the federal government created a fund for green education, money from carbon-emissions allowances would be divided in two: Half would be designated for existing federal sustainability programs, while half would be reserved for programs yet to be defined.

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