How Second Nature Is Helping to Simplify Climate Action in Higher Education

Ball State UniversityWhen communicating about climate issues, the clearer and simpler you can make your message, the better. With that in mind, our Solution Generation partner Second Nature has announced a major name change for their climate commitment initiative, which will make it easier for higher ed leaders to explain and understand what these commitments mean.
Second Nature helps build a more sustainable future through leadership in higher education. They’ve built a network of leaders who are making commitments to sustainability and climate action, and offer tools and guidance to help those leaders reach their goals.
For nine years, Second Nature has been supporting the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC). Earlier this month, they launched a new set of commitments called the Climate Leadership Commitments. These are made up of a Carbon Commitment (formerly known as the ACUPCC), a Resilience Commitment, and a Climate Commitment which integrates both carbon mitigation and resilience. The Commitments must be made by a higher education college or university president or chancellor. By signing any of the Commitments, the institution becomes part of the Climate Leadership Network.
This change integrates the resilience component into the Climate Leadership Commitments, and allows the Commitments to reflect the most holistic and advanced opportunity for presidents to commit to climate leadership. As Second Nature’s President Timothy Carter says, “All three Commitments are designed to do more than just get a campus’ carbon emissions to zero, or increase a campus’ resilience in partnership with its community. They are about positioning higher education to make more profound and dynamic changes in society.”

What’s In A Name?

By Timothy Carter, President of Second Nature
One of the hardest things to do before you have a baby is figuring out the name. I’ve had to do it three times and each time it wasn’t easy. Do we go old-school, new-school, trendy, traditional? Maybe just start numbering? Regardless of the process leading up to it, at a certain point you have to write a name down. Our son is named Townes after the great (but troubled) Texas singer/songwriter. They share a birthday and everything. But literally every time someone asks Townes his name, they have to ask him to repeat it. Every. Single. Time.
Why? Because it’s unfamiliar, not what they are expecting, and one they’ve probably never heard before. And this is the problem with naming kids. You have a pick something that you like, but really has nothing to do with them as a person. Even the more thoughtful, well-meaning parents who pick those admirable ones that represent “honorable”, “humble”, or “caring”, probably turn out some duds that can’t quite pull off their namesake. Eventually everyone grows into, and associates the name with their own identity, regardless of the original meaning.
Why is this relevant to Second Nature? Well, for the past nine years, Second Nature has been a supporting organization for the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC). Most folks in higher education sustainability have heard about the ACUPCC, even if they can’t remember the name. We get it. It’s a tough acronym. Accurate, but tough to remember and say. In fact, many people knows the name by how hard it is to remember. So if you are one of those who has botched the name in presenting this to your president, or you are a president who botched the name when announcing this to your students, your pain is over.
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