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About Cal Poly Sustainability

The language used in the sustainability profession has evolved over time to reflect the issues of the day. Renewable became sustainable, and global warming became climate change. Practitioners in diverse professions worked on climate action planning, then mitigation, then adaptation, and now resilience. This change in the lexicon underscores the dramatic speed with which the impacts of climate change have evolved from theory to painful reality.

While we continue to work diligently to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy and water conservation, renewable energy, high performance buildings, and alternative transportation, we must also develop and implement plans to prepare our society and critical infrastructure to be resilient—to withstand and recover from disasters that we may no longer be able to call “natural.”

The work of university facilities organizations and local resilience planners creates transformative opportunities to involve faculty and students in hands-on Learn by Doing projects that benefit local communities. Climate adaptation and resilience planning must include emergency management, public safety, and public health. The work undertaken must also incorporate social equity and environmental justice to ensure those at greatest risk, with the least ability to defend themselves—often low income areas and communities of color—are protected. Cal Poly and the CSU remain committed to this work.