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Cropped image of students planting trees at Arbor Day

Cropped image of students planting trees at Arbor Day

Action Now: We Are Closer Than You Think

The Earth is warming overall because greenhouse gases are building up in the atmosphere. The carbon you use and contribute to the atmosphere is called your “carbon footprint.” It provides each individual a way to estimate their impact. Carbon is estimated in tons, and daily actions like driving a car, heating water, and leaving the lights on builds a larger carbon footprint.

Santa Clara University is trying to eliminate their carbon footprint by 2020. Often the term “Climate Neutrality” is used to describe decreasing carbon emissions and engaging in renewable energy sources like solar power. SCU strives to get to zero net greenhouse gas emissions by energy conservation, renewable energy production and when necessary,offset what pollution is produced. An "offset" is providing, or funding, a way to decrease overall carbon in the atmosphere that is not your own, such as planting trees. Using this tactic, SCU aims for climate neutrality for natural gas and electricity by 2020 and for University-funded travel and commutey 2029. Here’s how you can directly participate now:


REDUCE your energy use by reducing the range of your personal thermostat. When heating your room, set it to 2 degrees lower than usual. When cooling your room, set it to 2 degrees higher. Want to take it to another level? Use an extra blanket if you’re cold, and use a fan when you’re hot. It uses significantly less energy than your AC.

REUSE secondhand goods. You can find free school supplies at the Share Shelf, located in the glass room on the first floor of Benson. Swap clothes with your friends. If you haven’t worn in the last year or it no longer fits, then donate it. Try to avoid buying new products with excess packaging when you can find products new-to-you for free!

RECYCLE or compost all of your waste on-campus. Did you know that thin film plastic like Ziploc or bread bags are recyclable? And, all to-go containers from Benson are compostable (even the plastic-looking ones). Take a look at the shadow boxes or signs above each bin for guidance!

RESPECT our shared natural resources. Remember not to get discouraged. Small actions can have large impacts with time and collective participation. Share your sustainable tips with friends, and encourage others to strive for climate neutrality.


On Arbor Day, students gathered together to plant trees on campus.