Tag Archives: Creighton University

Poor returns on fossil fuel investments helping students convince colleges to divest

By Chris Dunker, Lincoln Journal Star
Reprinted by The Hastings Tribune

At the urging of a petition signed by more than 500 students earlier this year, Doane University became the first college or university in Nebraska to announce it would divest from fossil fuels. By 2030, Doane will abandon investments in oil and gas companies that make up about 1.6% of its total endowment, the Board of Trustees decided in May, and will avoid future investments in that sector.

Students who backed the petition at the private university in Crete chalked the announcement as a victory in the long campaign to combat climate change. But, they said, while the effort to create a more sustainable environment may be the overarching goal, it was a different pitch that won the day. Continue reading here.

Photo: More than 200 students from student organizations on Creighton University’s campus demonstrated April 25 to advocate for climate change and demand the university take actions against climate change. Credit: Brady Manker

Previously Posted

As Climate Change Threatens Midwest’s Cultural Identity, Cities Test Ways to Adapt

By Dan Gearino, Inside Climate News
Part of the Midwest newsroom collaborative project Unfamiliar Ground. 

Think of a Minnesota with almost no ice fishing. A Missouri that is as hot and dry as Texas. River and lake communities where catastrophic flooding happens almost every year, rather than every few generations. This, scientists warn, is the future of the Midwest if emissions continue at a high rate, and it threatens the very core of the region’s identity. With extreme heat waves and flooding increasingly making that future feel more real, city leaders have started looking for ways to adapt.

In “Unfamiliar Ground,” a joint project organized by InsideClimate News, reporters across the Midwest are exploring what communities are doing to respond to climate change, with stories from IllinoisIndianaMichigan and Missouri, and this one from Minnesota. Read more here. 

Learn more about the National Environment Reporting Network and read the network’s spring project: Middle America’s Low-Hanging Carbon: The Search for Greenhouse Gas Cuts from the Grid, Agriculture and Transportation

Additional Recommended Reading & Viewing 

  • The Intergenerational Ethics of Climate Change, by Steve Cohen, Earth Institute, Columbia University. The power of fossil fuel interests stems from their investment in current and past energy infrastructure. The power of the climate strikers is based on their ethical and literal claim to the future. Many of us who will not live to see that climate future share our children’s worries about it just the same. Even if the ethical issues are not as crisp and clear as some climate activists like to think they are, they still have power and currency. And we owe the young climate activists our attention and support.
  • Creighton students vote in favor of divesting university funds from fossil fuel industry, Omaha World-Herald
  • YouTube Video: Creighton University’s Divestment / Reinvestment Referendum
    We as students of Creighton University are calling upon our administration and board of directors to uphold our Jesuit values by divesting (and reinvesting) the over $60 million we have invested in direct extraction fossil fuel companies. The moral argument for this action is clear. Anyone who accepts climate science can see the importance of creating incentives for the market to transition to renewable energy by socially conscious investing. At Creighton, we are shielded from the most catastrophic effects of climate change on the poor and vulnerable of our world, and we have a moral obligation to be their partner in this global fight.
  • Doane university divests from fossil fuels, KLKN TV
    Doane University students and staff are working together to get the university to divest from the fossil fuel industry by 2030.
  • Opinion: Renewable electricity is the solution to the climate crisis, by Zach Renshaw, Chair of Doane University’s Climate Reality Campus Corps, The Doane Line. This post includes Climate Reality resources.
  • Go Fossil Free.Org: See a searchable database of universities and other groups that have divested.
  • Youth are calling for immediate climate action, and majority of Americans agree, The Guardian/GreenBiz. This story is part of Covering Climate Now, a global collaboration of more than 323 news outlets to strengthen coverage of the climate story. Two-thirds of Americans believe climate change is either a crisis or a serious problem, with a majority wanting immediate action to address global heating and its damaging consequences, major new polling has found. “Americans are finally beginning waking up to the existential threat that the climate emergency poses to our society,” said Margaret Klein Salamon, a clinical psychologist and founder of the Climate Mobilization Project. “This is huge progress for our movement — and it’s young people that have been primarily responsible for that.”
  • Once a critic, Chamber of Commerce now backs Paris Climate Agreement, Axios

Upcoming Event

Nebraska Sierra Club Presentation: 24 Hours of Reality: Truth in Action – The Great Plains, November 21, 2019 at 7 pm, First United Methodist Church 

On November 21, Climate Reality is presenting 24 Hours of Reality: Truth in Action, a global conversation on the truth of the climate crisis and how we solve it. For one full 24-hour period, Climate Reality Leader volunteers trained by former Vice President Al Gore are holding public presentations and conversations on our changing climate.

Nebraska Sierra Club’s Presenter: Dr. David Corbin, Chair of the Nebraska Chapter Sierra Club

For each person who attends the event and fills out a form at the presentation, Nebraska Sierra Club will plant one tree on their behalf.

More Info? Contact David Corbin: dcorbin@cox.net / (402) 690-9134

At Creighton, climatologist James Hansen warns that the Midlands’ weather extremes will get worse

By Nancy Gaarder, Omaha World-Herald

An audible murmur ran through the crowd when images of flooding in Hamburg and the Glenwood, Iowa, area flashed on the screen. They’d come to Creighton University on Sunday to hear noted climate scientist James Hansen speak about global warming, but in the back of so many minds was that climate change isn’t about polar bears and sea level rise. The consequences can be felt in the heart of a continent, too. Continue reading  here.

Also Written by Nancy Gaarder

Additional Upcoming Event


Third Annual Nebraska Youth Climate Summit at the Nebraska Innovation Campus, October 4, 2019:

Youth are calling for immediate climate action, and majority of Americans agree

By Oliver Milman. Previously published by Guardian US.
Republished by GreenBiz

This story is part of Covering Climate Now, a global collaboration of more than 250 news outlets to strengthen coverage of the climate story.

Two-thirds of Americans believe climate change is either a crisis or a serious problem, with a majority wanting immediate action to address global heating and its damaging consequences, major new polling has found.

“Americans are finally beginning waking up to the existential threat that the climate emergency poses to our society,” said Margaret Klein Salamon, a clinical psychologist and founder of the Climate Mobilization Project. “This is huge progress for our movement — and it’s young people that have been primarily responsible for that.” Read more here.

Additional Recommended Reading  

Nebraska Climate Strike – Lincoln
Friday, September 20, 2019
Meet at Nebraska Union’s Green Space at 2:30 PM on UNL’s campus.
March begins at 3 PM to Nebraska State Capitol Building, 1445 K Street.
Join this event on Facebook. 

Omaha Climate Strike
Friday, September 20, 2019 – 8 AM to 12 PM
Omaha City Hall steps, 1819 Farnam Street
Click here for details.

Save the Date! October 4, 2019: Third Annual Nebraska Youth Climate Summit at the Nebraska Innovation Campus. Flyer Posted Here. Register Here.

More Nebraska News

Central Community College campuses reduce carbon emissions by 40%, KSNB
“We have a goal by 2024 for all of our campuses to be carbon neutral,” Environmental Sustainability Director Ben Newton said. 

 Previously Posted News Stories, Opinion & Resources

We Are Still In Coalition

Almost 4,000 states, cities, counties, companies, universities, colleges and other institutions are now members of the We Are Still In coalition, which is committed to meeting the U.S. emissions goals under the Paris Agreement. Coalition leaders currently represent over 150 million people and nearly $9.5 trillion in GDP.

Environment America Resources

CSU makes sustainable practices a focal point

By Jackie Laughlin, The Creightonian

Among many events and initiatives that Creighton Students Union worked on this summer, the implementation of sustainability on campus were the most abundant. The plans for sustainability initiatives did not stop with the beginning of school. CSU is also planning their first Farmer’s Market to take place over Family Weekend on Sept. 20 from 4:00-7:00 p.m. in Anderson Plaza.

According to Donna Shahbazi, president of CSU, the market is a sustainability initiative from the Board of Representatives in which fresh and organic food from local vendors will be brought to campus. Shahbazi said that the organization is also continuing to push forward the asks of the Creighton Climate Justice movement. “One of those asks is that the University divest their endowment from the fossil fuel industry. Members on our Board of Representatives are writing a Divestment Referendum that will be up for an internal CSU vote this month,” she said.
Read more here.

Photo: Creighton University’s 85-kilowatt parking lot solar canopy off Cuming Street.

Previously Posted

Opinion: Renewable electricity is the solution to the climate crisis, by Zach Renshaw, Chair of Doane University’s Climate Reality Campus Corps, The Doane Line

International News

  • Majors urged to lead energy transition, Petroleum Economist
    International oil companies (IOCs) face a major challenge from investors pulling out of fossil fuel-related businesses but are also in a unique position to reshape public perceptions and become trusted custodians of the world’s energy resources, a leading force behind the COP 21 Paris Agreement told the SPE Offshore Europe 2019 conference. In the past four years over 1,000 institutions have together pledged to divest more than $6tn from fossil fuels, an 11,200pc increase over the previous period, says Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) from 2010 to 2016.
  • MP Pension blacklists oil companies including Shell, BP and Exxon, IPE.Com

We Are Still In Coalition Update

Here in the United States, almost 4,000 states, cities, counties, companies, and other institutions are now members of the We Are Still In coalition, which is committed to meeting the U.S. emissions goals under the Paris Agreement.

Save the Date! October 8, 2019: Our speaker will be Tyler Mainquist, CFP®, ChFC®, CAP®, CLTC Financial Advisor, Central Financial Services, Lincoln.

Align Your Principal with Your Principles – Investing in a Clean Energy Economy

This presentation will provide practical methods for implementing sustainable, responsible and impact (SRI) investing — including how to avoid carbon-intensive and other polluting industries, and instead support companies that are working to reduce, mitigate, and/or adapt to our changing global climate. Additional material will cover recent updates re: comparisons against traditional investing, as well as the use of companies’ ESG (environmental, social, governance) data to reduce financial risk by avoiding bad corporate behavior.

Co-sponsored by Green Bellevue, Nebraska Interfaith Power & Light, Conservation Nebraska, Nebraska Sierra Club, OTOC’s Environmental Sustainability Action Team

Click here for additional details.

Midlands Voices: OPPD falls short on environmental stewardship measure

By Daniel R. DiLeo, Barbara J. Dilly and Richard W. Miller
Omaha World-Herald

DiLeo is assistant professor and director of justice and peace studies at Creighton University; Dilly is associate professor of anthropology and sustainability studies; Miller is professor of systematic theology and sustainability studies. The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not represent an official position of their institution or programs.

On Nov. 15, the Omaha Public Power District board voted 6-2 in favor of SD-7 Environmental Stewardship Resolution No. 6289. While commendable, the measure imprudently fails to satisfy several widely accepted ethical standards that should guide public policy, and it should be revised accordingly . . . The resolution also fails to uphold several basic ethical norms since it would knowingly permit and exacerbate the threat of climate change. As professors at a Catholic institution, we echo the Church’s teaching begun by St. John Paul II that climate change is a moral issue because its effects violate ethical commitments to protect human life and dignity, care for the poor and vulnerable, promote the global common good and steward the earth for future generations. Continue reading here.

Inhabitat Photo: Nearly all the coal consumed in Nebraska arrives by rail from the coal fields in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin like the one shown. Nebraska State Energy Profile, EIA

Additional Recommended Reading
Omaha World-Herald Editorial: Report describes climate challenges; Nebraskans should collaborate on solutions

Also of Potential Interest
Climate Change Statements From World Religions

Most religious communities have released statements on climate change. The Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale University maintains a database of these statements.

Midlands Voices: Creighton president among Catholic institutions to sign climate declaration


By president of Creighton University
Omaha World-Herald

Days before I began my presidency at Creighton University, on June 18, 2015, Pope Francis released his groundbreaking encyclical on ecology. In Laudato Si’ he affirmed nearly 30 years of Catholic teaching that human-caused climate change is an urgent moral issue which damages the earth, threatens human life and dignity and unjustly burdens the poor.

To celebrate the third anniversary of Laudato Si’, I am proud to join 600 other U.S. Catholic educators and leaders as a signatory to the Catholic Climate Declaration. The declaration calls on President Donald Trump to remain in the Paris climate agreement and announces that the U.S. Catholic community is “still in” on actions to meet the goals of the agreement. Read more here.

Photo: Creighton University’s parking lot solar canopies

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

  • Nearly 600 institutions back Catholic Climate Declaration, National Catholic Reporter
    The covenant’s Climate Energies program has lined up nearly $10 million in projects to help dioceses, parishes and Catholic organizations install energy-efficient and renewable energy projects. Jesuit Fr. Daniel Hendrickson, president of Creighton University, told reporters June 18 that the Omaha, Nebraska-based school has decreased its greenhouse gas emissions from electricity by nearly 25 percent, a savings of $2 million, and remains committed to its goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.
  • Download Laudato Si’  here.
  • The Pope Is Not Alone!, NRDC Archived Post
  • Religious Statements on Climate Change, Interfaith Power & Light

We Are Still In Website
Mayors, county executives, governors, tribal leaders, college and university leaders, businesses, faith groups, and investors are joining forces  to continue to support climate action to meet the Paris Agreement.

NEBRASKA STATE CLIMATE OFFICE

  • The Nebraska State Climate Office (NSCO) is an organization dedicated to delivering science-based climate services at the local and state level. NSCO’s focus is on weather and climate monitoring, climate services, and stakeholder engagement. NSCO’s office includes operation of the Nebraska Mesonet, a state-wide weather observation network with nearly 70 locations across Nebraska that assess local conditions.

NSCO’s Links to More Information

Pope’s Climate Expert Tells Nebraska Audience: It’s An Issue In The Laps Of Faith Leaders

By Bill Kelly, Senior Producer/Reporter, NET News

Dr. Veerabhadran “Ram” Ramanathan, an atmospheric and climate scientist, recently spoke to students at Creighton University. In an interview with Bill Kelly of NET News he talked about his post with the Vatican, why the pope made climate an ethical and spiritual issue, and why Nebraska needs to pay attention. Continue reading here.

Solar, wind power at work: Second ‘EnergiPlant’ sprouts from Creighton energy technology program

Written by Creighton University, Omaha World-Herald

A new plant in Creighton University’s budding energy garden has taken root. On a recent Saturday afternoon, as part of the culmination of their coursework, students in Creighton’s Energy 131 course – part of the university’s Energy Technology Program within its College of Arts and Sciences, focused on installing and maintaining photovoltaic systems – erected the campus’ second EnergiPlant USB charging station between the Mike and Josie Harper Center and Davis Square. Click to continue reading.

Creighton University Photo: The EnergiPlant – the second on Creighton’s campus – resembles a roughly 12-foot tall metal flower with a bloom doubling as a wind turbine and four metal leaves embedded with solar panels, all producing about 300 watts of power.

MORE MIDWEST NEWS

Green Bellevue: Embracing Renewable Energy

Written by Cheril Lee, The Reader

Don Preister, Green Bellevue President and Bellevue City Councilman, Ward 5, started Green Bellevue in 2009. Through the organization, approximately 600 volunteers work on a host of different activities including Earth Day and Arbor Day programs, recycling efforts, wildlife habitat cleanup, Green Schools and Clean Energy programs. Preister said they also focus on water quality and sustainable gardening. Continue reading here to learn about Green Bellevue’s renewable energy programs and projects.

Green Bellevue’s March Program
Solar Powering Your Home: Learn how to install solar panels step-by-step
Presenters: Don Preister and David Holtzclaw, owner of Transduction Technologies

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Today’s Technology, Tomorrow’s Leaders: Lighting the Way at Creighton
By Cheril Lee, The Reader

In 2010, Creighton University contracted out to have four individual solar arrays installed around campus. Dr. Andrew Baruth, assistant professor of physics at Creighton University, explained the arrays came about thanks to the direct efforts of Dr. Michael Cherney, now an emeritus professor at Creighton. “In conversation, he learned of money that was available through the U.S. Department of Energy as part of a stimulus package that could potentially go to fund something like this,” said Baruth. Read more here.