NAU attempts to be proactive in decreasing its carbon footprint by revising its Climate Action Plan (CAP), the university is asking for public input and the Climate Action Forum was the first step.

At the Sept. 17 Climate Action Forum, Flagstaff residents and students were able to give input that will be integrated into the university’s CAP.

As defined by Green NAU's webpage, a CAP is a document that orients the community to reach a common goal. These plans involve reducing carbon footprints and implementing sustainability by looking at ways to reduce waste. Attendees spoke about issues they wanted to see addressed in the upcoming CAP, including water waste and carbon emission reduction.

The forum began with an introduction from NAU’s sustainability manager Matthew Muchna.

“A plan is only as good as your ability to stick to it,” Muchna said to attendees at the forum. “We need climate action plans to help bring people together. We want to use our resources well and lead in this way.

The Office of Sustainability will work to merge its plan with Flagstaff’s Climate Action and Adaptation Plan. The university’s first CAP, developed in 2010, set a goal for carbon neutrality by 2020.

“It’s months away. We’re not going to be carbon neutral by 2020," Muchna said. "But at least we know that and at least we have the support from our administration to move forward in finding a new path to that carbon neutrality.”

Also in attendance was Nikki Cooley, program manager of Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals. Cooley said it is important to include indigenous voices in conversations about climate change solutions.

“Even if you don’t see a lot of [indigenous people] here, the more you include them, the more you ask them to come and be a part, they will also come,” Cooley said at the forum. “Remember NAU is on indigenous lands. Wherever your dorm room, house or apartment is, that is indigenous land.”

The event concluded with breakout sessions where participants were able to brainstorm ideas to be considered for the revision of NAU’s current CAP. The audience was then able to share these ideas directly with the Office of Sustainability and Green NAU staff.

Following the Climate Action Forum, NAU held an action plan work session Wednesday. This is the first of four work sessions that will allow the campus community to voice their concerns.

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