INDIANAPOLIS — Climate change refers to the long-term shifts in temperature and weather patterns. While some of it may occur naturally, research has shown human activities have been the main driver of it, burning fossil fuels like coal, oil, and gas. IUPUI Sustainability is working to help reverse climate change, coming up with solutions for problems across the state, country, and world.
Jessica Davis, the director of IUPUI Sustainability, tells WRTV some of the unique things they're doing on campus to help reverse climate change.
"We have umbrellas that also have solar panel strips on top of them and at the base, there's also a charging port," Davis said. This set up allows students to not only avoid using electricity powered by fossil fuels, but allows them to be up close to an actual solar panel. "It's not something many campuses can offer students," she said.
"We have our Bike Share program, which is connected to the city's entire program," Davis said. The Bike Share program is also close to where the JAGLINE picks up students. "Our JAG line is our campus transit system. Any way we can support people getting around campus and to campus not in single-occupancy vehicles certainly helps our emission numbers."
Along with the things just mentioned, Davis says campus buildings are continually getting modifications to make them more environmentally friendly. The new buildings, she says, are built that way. There's also a greenhouse that sits atop the Science Building, landscaping is being changed to only include native species, and they also have a community garden.
All those efforts led to IUPUI being placed second among universities in the country in the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings for its commitment to sustainability and making the world a better place. The Impact Rankings are based on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals adopted in 2015. The 17 goals address a wide range of issues that impact the economic, environmental and social advancement of communities around the world. This honor announced in the Spring is why IUPUI received an even bigger one. They're representing colleges from around the world at the Vision 2045 Summit.
"We know that higher education has a responsibility to work toward a more sustainable, more inclusive, more just world," Hilary Kahn, IUPUI's Vice Chancellor for International Affairs, said. She's joining Davis on the trip to the Vision 2045 Summit in Scotland. "We're absolutely excited to be representing higher education as well at IUPUI at a collective, brainstorming of minds around climate change and around sustainable development overall."
You don't have to look far to see some of the effects of climate change. Farmers have struggled with too much or not enough rain which makes growing and harvesting crops tough. Over the summer, heavy rain caused flooding in places like Blooomington where Kirkwood Avenue was covered in water. People were trapped in bars and businesses were left to clean up a mess Climate change research shows periods of excessive rain and drought will continue to worsen unless more is done to reverse the damage. IUPUI Sustainability is hopeful reversing climate change can be done.
"I know sometimes with climate change, folks can maybe lean toward being hopeless but given the scale of this problem, and how much good work is being done here at IUPUI and across the state, there's so much opportunity to do good work and I would invite as many people as possible to join us," Davis said.