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Which Is the Greenest College Campus in Your State?
Colleges across the U.S. have been making headlines for environmentally conscious polices and student activism. For example, the University of Dayton became the first U.S. Catholic college to divest from fossil fuels, Washington University students were arrested protesting Peabody Coal, and 130+ universities joined in a movement to measure the sustainable dining on campus.
There are numerous ways to judge how “green” a school is, including a close look at college campuses. eCollegeFinder has created a map illustrating the greenest college campuses in each state, as judged by College Prowler.
College Prowler ranked each school on a 1 to 10 scale, and while they did not disclose the criteria used, they summed up the motivation behind the rating system as follows: “These days, schools boast a high number of LEED-certified facilities and sustainability initiatives. The following colleges and universities are striving for a more eco-friendly future.”
Only one school received a perfect 10: Pitzer College in California.
See if your school made the list.
And, in case you’re a little rusty on college logos, here’s the breakdown of universities and College Prowler green campus ratings by state:
Alabama: Auburn University – 8.6
Alaska: University of Alaska Fairbanks – 8.05
Arizona: Northern Arizona University – 9.67
Arkansas: Hendrix College – 9.06
California: Pitzer College – 10
Colorado: University of Colorado Boulder – 9.8
Connecticut: Yale University – 9.36
Delaware: University of Delaware – 8.61
Florida: Florida Gulf Coast University – 9.8
Georgia: Emory University – 9.65
Hawaii: Chaminade University of Honolulu – 8.18
Idaho: Brigham Young University - Idaho – 8.45
Illinois: Loyola University Chicago – 9.21
Indiana: Ball State University – 9.11
Iowa: Iowa State University – 9.19
Kansas: University of Kansas – 8.43
Kentucky: Berea College – 8.73
Louisiana: Tulane University – 8.5
Maine: Bowdoin College – 9.54
Maryland: Goucher College – 9.47
Massachusetts: Smith College – 9.47
Michigan: Grand Valley State University – 9.47
Minnesota: Carleton College – 9.19
Mississippi: University of Mississippi – 8.5
Missouri: Washington University in St. Louis – 9.36
Montana: University of Montana – 8.7
Nebraska: Hastings College – 8.35
Nevada: Sierra Nevada College – 8.45
New Hampshire: University of New Hampshire – 8.8
New Jersey: Richard Stockton College of New Jersey – 8.71
New Mexico: University of New Mexico – 7.94
New York: Ithaca College – 9.42
North Carolina: Elon University – 9.41
North Dakota: University of North Dakota – 8.15
Ohio: Oberlin College – 9.31
Oklahoma: Oklahoma State University – 8.76
Oregon: University of Oregon – 9.67
Pennsylvania: Allegheny College – 9.19
Rhode Island: Brown University – 8.81
South Carolina: Furman University – 9.13
South Dakota: South Dakota School of Mines and Technology – 8.32
Tennessee: Vanderbilt University – 8.91
Texas: University of North Texas – 9.52
Utah: Westminster College – 9.14
Vermont: University of Vermont – 9.41
Virginia: James Madison University – 8.84
Washington: University of Washington – 9.46
West Virginia: West Virginia University – 8.02
Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point – 9.13
Wyoming: University of Wyoming – 8.38
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Colorado River Has Lost 1.5 Billion Tons of Water to the Climate Crisis, 'Severe Water Shortages' May Follow
California is headed toward drought conditions as February, typically the state's wettest month, passes without a drop of rain. The lack of rainfall could lead to early fire conditions. With no rain predicted for the next week, it looks as if this month will be only the second time in 170 years that San Francisco has not had a drop of rain in February, according to The Weather Channel.
The last time San Francisco did not record a drop of rain in February was in 1864 as the Civil War raged.
"This hasn't happened in 150 years or more," said Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at UCLA's Institute of the Environment and Sustainability to The Guardian. "There have even been a couple [of] wildfires – which is definitely not something you typically hear about in the middle of winter."
While the Pacific Northwest has flooded from heavy rains, the southern part of the West Coast has seen one storm after another pass by. Last week, the U.S. Drought Monitor said more Californians are in drought conditions than at any time during 2019, as The Weather Channel reported.
The dry winter has included areas that have seen devastating fires recently, including Sonoma, Napa, Lake and Mendocino counties. If the dry conditions continue, those areas will once again have dangerously high fire conditions, according to The Mercury News.
"Given what we've seen so far this year and the forecast for the next few weeks, I do think it's pretty likely we'll end up in some degree of drought by this summer," said Swain, as The Mercury News reported.
Another alarming sign of an impending drought is the decreased snowpack in the Sierra Nevada Mountain range. The National Weather Service posted to Twitter a side-by-side comparison of snowpack from February 2019 and from this year, illustrating the puny snowpack this year. The snow accumulated in the Sierra Nevadas provides water to roughly 30 percent of the state, according to NBC Los Angeles.
Right now, the snowpack is at 53 percent of its normal volume after two warm and dry months to start the year. It is a remarkable decline, considering that the snowpack started 2020 at 90 percent of its historical average, as The Guardian reported.
"Those numbers are going to continue to go down," said Swain. "I would guess that the 1 March number is going to be less than 50 percent."
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center forecast that the drier-than-average conditions may last through April.
NOAA said Northern California will continue deeper into drought through the end of April, citing that the "persistent high pressure over the North Pacific Ocean is expected to continue, diverting storm systems to the north and south and away from California and parts of the Southwest," as The Weather Channel reported.
As the climate crisis escalates and the world continues to heat up, California should expect to see water drawn out of its ecosystem, making the state warmer and drier. Increased heat will lead to further loss of snow, both as less falls and as more of it melts quickly, according to The Guardian.
"We aren't going to necessarily see less rain, it's just that that rain goes less far. That's a future where the flood risk extends, with bigger wetter storms in a warming world," said Swain, as The Guardian reported.
The Guardian noted that while California's reservoirs are currently near capacity, the more immediate impact of the warm, dry winter will be how it raises the fire danger as trees and grasslands dry out.
"The plants and the forests don't benefit from the water storage reservoirs," said Swain, as The Mercury News reported. "If conditions remain very dry heading into summer, the landscape and vegetation is definitely going to feel it this year. From a wildfire perspective, the dry years do tend to be the bad fire years, especially in Northern California."
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A warm day in winter used to be a rare and uplifting relief.
Now such days are routine reminders of climate change – all the more foreboding when they coincide with news stories about unprecedented wildfires, record-breaking "rain bombs," or the accelerated melting of polar ice sheets.
Where, then, can one turn for hope in these dark months of the year?