Climate Action Plan


In 2020,  Saint Mary's College launched its inaugural Climate Action Plan.

Pope Francis on his Encyclical on Care for Our Common Home firmly pronounced that climate change is one of the greatest threats of our time, and the impacts of climate change will disproportionately burden the world's poor. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world's leading panel of experts, scientists and government officials, has repeatedly highlighted the urgency of prioritizing timely, ambitious and coordinated action to address unprecedented and enduring changes. In September 2019, The United Nations held a Global Climate Action Summit to bring climate change to the top of the international agenda.  The world is starting to pay attention, and it is our collective responsibility to step up and act.

What is a Climate Action Plan?

A Climate Action Plan (CAP) begins with an inventory of the College's past greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and follows with a plan for reducing those emissions by a given time frame. The goal of SMC's CAP is to achieve the largest and most cost-effective GHG emissions reduction. Tackling climate change is not just a technological challenge, it is a moral, ethical and social justice issue. 

Centering Race & Equity

As a Lasallian Catholic college with a mission to inclusively serve marginalized communities, we will examine how our operations, decision-making, programs, policies and practices may unintentionally perpetuate inequities. Communities of color and low-income communities fare far worse than their counterparts in nearly every area, including housing, health, criminal justice, employment, and the environment - all of which are inextricably connected. Climate change is no different - the most vulnerable populations will bear unequal climate-related burdens, including health disparities, economic instability, and greater risk to extreme weather events. How do we ensure that our initiatives result in equal distribution of environmental and institutional gains? We must give constant consideration to how our projects and policies, not only in this Climate Action Plan but elsewhere in our institution, impact Environmental Justice communities both locally and globally. For example, burning fossil fuels can lead to health impacts, such as respiratory symptoms, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. Because most power plants are located in or near communities of color and low-income communities, those impacts must be considered as we make important institutional decisions, such as where our energy comes from. We will apply this racial equity lens throughout the planning, decision-making and implementation process.

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Climate Action Plan

Tackling climate change is not just a technological challenge, it is a moral, ethical and social justice issue. Pope Francis' Encyclical on Care for Our Common Home, Laudato Si, warned that “those who will have to suffer the consequences of what we are trying to hide will not forget this failure of conscience and responsibility.”

Our Climate Action Plan details the major goals, projects and initiatives to most effectively and quickly ratchet down our greenhouse gas emissions, while infusing values of justice, equity and inclusivity.