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The Mission of Climate Action Now (CAN)

On February 22nd during assembly, Climate Action Now (CAN) shared their goals for the future. CAN is a group of students and faculty dedicated to mitigating the effects of climate change. Their mission statement is excerpted below:

The mission of the Climate Action Now group is to hold our community accountable for actions that can be taken to mitigate climate change. We also aim to remind people of the impact their decisions have on the environment, with the hope to encourage a change toward positive action. There's no better time than now to start.

With each member spending their time on specific projects, in collaboration with CAN, we’ve come up with some necessary actions we can all (faculty and students!) take to keep our earth happy and prevent the detrimental effects of worsening climate change.

1. Avoid driving individually and instead opt for walking, biking, public transit, or carpooling

As a part of a larger mission, CAN will be organizing walking groups to/from the BART station in an attempt to ease our carbon footprint. This will by no means end the BART shuttle service, but instead provide an eco-friendly and social alternative. As an incentive, RHF points will be available to students who choose to walk. Look for more information and updates on Campus News, and if you are interested please fill out this form!

2. When possible, use online resources instead of printing them out

This change is predominately for teachers, but it is hard to miss the piles of printed-out handouts and worksheets we all receive daily. Most of these resources start in an online format, so making those available for students who prefer them and are hoping to throw away less paper is an easy change for us to make. We cannot entirely abolish printing– as there are some resources that need to be physical to be annotated– but we encourage teachers to think about keeping documents online if possible and offering a choice between online pdfs and printed copies.

3. Reduce food waste and compost what isn’t eaten

Studies show that 6% of greenhouse gas emissions come from food loss and waste, and food waste is the most common material in landfills in the US. This is an easy problem to solve by only taking the food you need and composting what is left over. We can’t end food waste but we can sort our food waste properly (by not putting it in the landfill) and reduce the amount we are throwing away to begin with.

4. Opt for less plastic use

Most research shows that only 5-9% of plastic is recycled, and the rest is either going to landfills or incinerated. That surplus of unrecycled plastic leads to our soil, oceans, and air. We can all make more eco-friendly choices, such as opting for reusable water bottles instead of plastic ones. If you can, support your local refill shops where you can buy food in bulk without excessive plastic packaging. A nearby option could be the refill store on College Ave, which you can visit through this online store. There are many companies prioritizing the elimination of plastic in their supply chain for items like laundry detergent, toothpaste, and frozen foods; look for and support these companies. Consider buying laundry detergent strips instead of liquid detergent, or refilling your toothpaste at a refill store rather than buying a whole new tube. By making adjustments like these in your everyday life, you can waste less, reduce your carbon footprint, and contribute to the effort to protect our environment and fight climate change.

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