At the University of Michigan, we have the knowledge and power to leave future generations with a planet that has the same potential to support life and human activity as the one we all inherited. At Michigan, we can address the issue of sustainability from a very broad base of research perspectives, as well as through the actions we take as a community of more than 80,000 individuals.
As a public institution, U-M must be part of our society’s response to sustainability challenges on local to global scales. This requires meaningful commitments at both institutional and individual levels. Our Planet Blue initiative unifies all of U-M’s sustainability work – spanning research, education and campus life.
I have spoken with many members of our community who are passionate about sustainability. Last semester, I asked for a comprehensive review of our current priorities and progress on the goals of greenhouse gas reduction, waste reduction, and campus culture regarding sustainability. Groups of faculty, staff and students are working on those efforts. In the meantime, Planet Blue also provides us with tools to translate the campus passion for sustainability into action.
I invite you to join me in this part of the initiative and become a certified Planet Blue Ambassador. The Planet Blue Ambassador program provides students, faculty and staff with a great opportunity to assess how we can be better global citizens and make a positive difference in our world.
The Planet Blue Ambassador online training tool helps us better understand and manage our daily actions to better protect our environment and help U-M reach its sustainability goals. I have signed in myself, and it is a fun and easy way to learn about our goals, available resources and opportunities to become more involved in campus efforts.
Thanks to feedback from nearly 2,000 current ambassadors, the updated Planet Blue Ambassador tool now provides tangible data on the impact of your actions. For instance, drinking from a reusable water bottle daily will benefit your bottom line and the planet. Over the course of a year, you can save more than $230 and 92 gallons of water, while preventing about 58 pounds of carbon emissions and 4.5 pounds of waste.
Your personalized Planet Blue Ambassador dashboard will report greenhouse gas emission reductions, waste prevention and water savings resulting from the actions you pledge to take. It also allows you to create teams to challenge and inspire friends and colleagues. As recognition for completing the training, all Ambassadors will receive an official certificate. The first 400 community members to complete the training in 2015 will also receive a Planet Blue reusable water bottle.
Our faculty, staff and students can make a meaningful difference because of our combined size and scope. I encourage you to take this opportunity to become a Planet Blue Ambassador.