As many already know, The Rady School of Management and the broader UC San Diego community have taken steps to ensure their environmental sustainability. The Rady School’s Wells Fargo Hall is gold LEED certified and was built with a roof that reflects (instead of absorbs) the sun’s rays, water efficient landscaping and best practice building commissioning.
The UC San Diego campus as a whole hosts a number of greenhouse rooftops, uses 100% natural gas to heat its buildings, provides abundant public transportation around campus, and encourages students to follow in its footsteps through “green majors” and sustainable student clubs such as the Rady School’s Net Impact and UC San Diego’s Econauts. Most recently, UC San Diego was featured in The Princeton Review’s 2015 Guide to Green Colleges and environmental consciousness is a determining factor for accepted students. The growing network of conservation-oriented individuals in the UC San Diego community is also influencing the greater San Diego area.
On Thursday, May 28th, UC San Diego’s School of Global Policy and Strategy hosted Councilman Todd Gloria at the Rady School to discuss San Diego’s Climate Action Plan and projections for a sustainable future. The plan was started during Gloria’s brief interim as mayor of San Diego from August 2013 to March 2014, during which he launched the pledge for the City of San Diego to eliminate half of all greenhouse gas emissions and reach 100% renewable energy by 2035. The ambitious, 74-page plan includes measurable and enforceable actions in clean and renewable energy, energy and water efficiency, land use, zero waste, climate resiliency, and transportation with progress checkpoints every few years.
When speaking with Councilman Gloria, he seemed optimistic about San Diego’s Climate Action Plan and feels confident that neighboring cities will adopt it in the near future. According to Gloria, the State of California is on board with the plan and is supplying financial support. The councilman also has plans to collaborate with neighboring cities for future grant money in order to continue the plan’s initiatives. When confronted about the possibility of failure in taking on such a big initiative, Gloria responded in true politician form, saying aiming low will only get low results. In reality, over a year after its creation, this Climate Action Plan is still in draft form and awaiting environmental review and approval. The good news is that it has already been approved by San Diego’s current mayor, Kevin Faulconer, and is open to public suggestion and edits.
If and when San Diego’s Climate Action Plan is officially passed, it will take a lot of local support to achieve all initiatives. Gloria admits the plan’s success will be highly dependent upon local votes to retrofit buildings for solar power, install water meters in homes, change local water resources to Pure Water (previously known as Toilet Tap), and agree on other various city modifications to ensure a sustainable future. The local nonprofit Climate Action Campaign is a grass roots organization focused on public outreach and education regarding the Climate Action Plan and requirements towards a sustainable future for San Diego.
Councilman Gloria confessed during his talk that the plan and San Diego are not where he would like them to be in regards to sustainability, and that the change he is proposing will be disruptive, but necessary. However, he also stressed that this plan is about helping the local San Diego economy as much as the environment and that the majority of changes will be financially incentivized. As the largest cleantech city in the country, San Diego has the right environmentally conscious culture and intellectual capital to grow green sector jobs and set an example for other cities, and ultimately the nation.
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Kimberly Gossard (’16) is a first year MBA student at the Rady School of Management and Vice President of Rady’s Net Impact Chapter. Originally from Orange County, CA with a degree in Marine Biology from Rollins College in Florida, Kimberly has dedicated her career to oceanic conservation education. She hopes to inspire others to protect our earth and leave the world a better place than she found it.