October 23, 2001

Cornell Greens Attend Second ECO Conference

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This weekend, members of the Cornell Greens traveled to Washington D.C. to spread the word about environmental efforts at Cornell and attend workshops at the second annual ECOnference.

The conference was an event aimed at attracting students and environmentalists from across the country, with an estimated 2000 attendees this year.

“The general conference was basically a place for people to meet others interested in the same issues,” said Moss Templeton ’03.

The conference included workshops on a variety of topics, from activist use of the media to environmental justice, according to Dana Perls ’03.

Greens members led a workshop of their own, educating students from other schools about the Kyoto Now! campaign executed earlier this year. In the campaign, students held a protest for Cornell to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions in accordance with the Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement signed in 1997.

A dedicated group of students remained outside of Day Hall for seven days until the administration agreed to make a conscious effort toward the goals of the protesters.

The workshop led by Kyoto Now! members was repeated three times throughout the day, according to Lindsay Saunders ’03.

“We started out with the background of global warming, talked about the Kyoto Protocol, how it started, how it evolved,” said Templeton of the workshop led by Greens members, “then talked about how the Kyoto Now! campaign attempts to drive our nation to action …from that point we gave an overview of how to plan an environmental campaign.”

“Campaigns to stop global warming are just getting started in universities,” said Dana Perls ’02, “it was so wonderful to see students coming to us with questions.”

The conference was co-sponsored by over 50 national and regional organizations, such as Greenpeace, ecopledge.com, Dell and Sprint.

On the Cornell campus, efforts have begun to accomplish goals set forth in last year’s protest.

“During the summer, [the administration] conducted an energy audit of Cornell,” said Templeton, “going through every building, every room, to determine what each building’s energy use is.”

The next step is the formation of a project team that will research what can be done to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in each building.

Due to the efforts of Greens members at the conference, “Cornell will be in the spotlight,” said Perls, who believes that this will force administrators to “take the initiative” toward the emission reduction goals, in order to prove a proper role model for other universities.

Archived article by Stacy Williams