The natural environment is a precious and sensitive ecological system that provides valuable services which need to be conserved. The world’s population is increasing at an exponential rate, which is increasing the rate at which the earth’s natural resources are being depleted. Deforestation is occurring at an alarming speed, fresh water resources are being exploited faster than they can be restored and energy sources are becoming harder to obtain. Due to the earth’s finite resources, this trend of unsustainable growth and consumption will not be feasible in the future. At this point in time, we need to transition to a new way of thinking to reduce our ecological footprint on this planet.
The Office of Sustainability is working to coordinate energy and waste reduction initiatives on campus. With an annual energy budget of $3.7 million, the college has both financial and environmental incentives to reduce its reliance on fossil fuel, a finite resource. The college is targeting both energy efficiency projects through technology advances as well as energy reduction initiatives through behavioral changes. On campus, sustainability efforts are supported at every level of the college and are driven by the students, facilities office, and Oneonta Auxiliary Services (OAS).
We believe that the foundation of sustainability is the protection of the life-sustaining natural environment upon which all living things depend for survival. We advocate a decision-making framework that promotes such protection as well as its relationship to fundamental human justice and equity. Environmental and financial stewardship should meet the needs of current and future generations. Further, we understand that the environment is inextricably interconnected with social and economic practices and that these should exist in harmony with the natural environment, enhancing rather than depleting the productive capacity of the Earth. We are dedicated to preserving and living within the limits of both natural resources and sink capacities, as well as giving preference to low-impact renewable resources wherever possible.