When considering methods of adaptation regarding carbon and energy systems, I immediately thought of the New School’s fairly recent divestment from fossil fuel stock. In February of this year, The New School made a decision to eliminate fossil fuel stocks from their investment portfolios, which would be carried out over the coming years. This divestment is an instance of a climate-conscious adaptation, and targets the economic and even societal/social factors of fossil fuel dependency.
While it is unlikely that a divestment such as the New School’s could result in a significant economic blow to these huge oil and gas companies, it can be used as a very influential statement and stance, especially in relation to the New School’s influence as a respected institution. It is this influence that serves as a method of bringing about other instances of climate change mitigation. By the New School stating that they are no longer benefitting from the economic gains of the fossil fuel industry, they are making a powerful statement. This, hopefully, would serve as an example for other institutions (such as notable universities) to follow suit. This mitigation strategy calls upon the societal influence of important and respected organizations and institutions in the country, and the world. Through this, these respected institutions are saying that climate change and carbon emissions are a real thing, and a real problem that needs to be dealt with and considered.
In addition, this divestment has gone hand-in-hand with the New School’s creation and implementation of climate change and sustainability-related curriculum across its many schools (including our class, Sustainable Systems.) This serves as another strategy for climate change mitigation. By educating its students on issues related to sustainability (especially sustainable design) The New School is, in the words of Michelle DePass, Dean of the Milano School, transforming its students and faculty into “fully aware, service-oriented climate citizens.” And through this education, these students and faculty will be able to devise and implement their own methods of climate change mitigation (such as designs that target energy systems and life cycles) within their own spheres of influence.