Over the past week, we celebrated the 51st Earth Day and the Biden Administration’s regaining of the global lead in proposing increasingly ambitious goals to curb global warming; the White House held an historic Climate Summit and hosted 40 leaders of the top carbon-emitting countries. Biden’s repeated assertion that climate change is "the existential crisis of our time" recognizes that everything we can imagine within our human existence depends upon a healthful planet. We’ve seen how climate amplifies the conditions for a global pandemic that continues to rage around the world ending lives, stressing societies, and degrading economies in its path, and sets the stage for ever-worsening storms and wildfires that ravage natural and human systems. And, those of us in tune with the 30 million other species with whom we share this planet, note the sobering and profoundly saddening sixth wave of mass species extinctions (this wave unequivocally caused by humans) through, among other causes, unprecedented levels of habitat demolition.
With no time left to lose, Prescott College commiserates with our struggling planet and turns empathy into action by celebrating and helping to promote an essential mid-course correction. Such a correction can become the pivot point that produces healthier and happier human populations engaged in more stable, vibrant, and equitable economies, all buoyed by a regenerating and increasingly resilient planet. This is a task not just for governments and legislators but for all citizens of our planet.
We appreciate that with the biogeochemical tipping points looming perilously close, the Biden Administration wasted no time and reaffirmed, on its first day, our nation’s re-commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement that encourages nations to set individual goals for reducing carbon emissions. We also recognize and reaffirm the symbiotic needs for both rational, evidence-based decision making informed through science alongside traditional ecological knowledge and experience.
We appreciate the value of showcasing these increasingly ambitious goals as a jobs-building bonanza across sectors and levels likely to boost our economic well-being and equity. As such, what is good for our economies, can be good for our peoples, and good for our environment.
Prescott College was born in the same spirit as Earth Day more than 50 years ago, each sharing fundamental commitments to open, inspired, and critical thought (i.e., the "liberal arts"), just societies built on social fairness and equity, and a flourishing environment upon which all else relies. Staying that course, Prescott College still stands hand-in-hand with the young, progressive, innovative, imaginative, active minds that are spearheading our path forward to a new economy. Prescott College is working to provide eager students with the skills and tools necessary to contribute to, and lead, this invigorating journey towards a new and respectful relationship with our uniquely beautiful and life-sustaining planet. Those of us who carry the Prescott College torch proudly reaffirm our long-standing commitment to helping find the solutions to issues of critical environmental and social concern both at home and around the world.
Ed Boyer, Ph.D.
Director Environmental Studies and Sustainability
Director Emeritus, Kino Bay Center for Cultural and Ecological Studies