Southern California environment news and trends

University of California lauded for environmental dedication

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Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Students walk near Sather Gate on the University of California at Berkeley campus.

The entire University of California system was awarded a Climate Leadership Award earlier this month for continued dedication to reducing its overall carbon footprint.

According to a press release, University of California is among ten academic institutions to receive the accolades from Second Nature and the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC). The awards are presented to schools “that demonstrate unparalleled campus innovation and climate leadership that helps transition society to a clean, just and sustainable future.”

UC facilities are considered among the most sustainable of any American university, due in large part to the Policy of Sustainable Practices, established in 2004. Among the policy’s achievements include 93 LEEDS-certified buildings (the most of any university in the country) and clean energy investments that have amounted to cutting $32 million from annual costs.

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More brackets: Two California schools in “Sustainable 16” eco-education competition

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University of California

With a large percentage of the American population already knee-deep in brackets for this year’s edition of the NCAA basketball playoffs known as March Madness, there’s a very different kind of collegiate showdown also heating up.

In the spirit of the “Sweet 16,” the “Sustainable 16” is a group of colleges and universities that “exemplify excellence in environmental academics,” and was selected through a nationwide survey competition. As reported by Environmental Leader (who is co-sponsoring the competition with Enviance, producers of environmental ERP software), surveys from three dozen potential schools were narrowed down to the “Sustainable 16” by a panel including Lawrence Goldenhersh, the president and CEO of Enviance. Among the 16 schools are two from California: University of California, Davis, and Humboldt State University.

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Clean air alert: all UC campuses to be smoke-free by 2014

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AP / Paul Sakuma

University of California President Mark Yudof.

The era of smoking in the boys’ room – or anywhere on University of California campuses, for that matter – is about to come to an end, thanks to a new decree that came down from UC president Mark Yudof this week.

The comprehensive ban extends to residences halls and parking lots, and includes smokeless tobacco products (leave that chew at home, kids!), making a point to mention “unregulated” items like “e-cigarettes”. The sale and advertising for any of the above will be forbidden.

Yudof called for campus chancellors to form committees at each school to begin implementing these sweeping changes over the next two years.

“As a national leader in healthcare and environmental practices, the University of California is ready to demonstrate leadership in reducing tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke,” Yudof said in the letter to chancellors. “Offering a smoke-free environment will contribute positively to the health and well-being of all UC students, faculty, staff, and our patients and visitors."

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