Degrees That Matter

From Urban and Industrial Environments

Degrees That Matter

Climate Change and the University

By Ann Rappaport and Sarah Creighton

Foreword by Lawrence S. Bacow

How members of college and university communities can take action on climate change: strategies, projects, and lessons in how to motivate complex organizations to make changes.





How members of college and university communities can take action on climate change: strategies, projects, and lessons in how to motivate complex organizations to make changes.

Universities and colleges are in a unique position to take a leadership role on global warming. As communities, they can strategize and organize effective action. As laboratories for learning and centers of research, they can reduce their own emissions of greenhouse gases, educate students about global warming, and direct scholarly attention to issues related to climate change and energy. Degrees That Matter offers practical guidance for those who want to harness the power of universities and other institutions, and provides perspectives on how to motivate change and inspire action within complex organizations.

The authors, drawing on almost a decade of experience leading the Tufts Climate Initiative and other institutional "greening" efforts, provide both the basic facts and more detailed information about climate issues. Some chapters can be used as stand-alone action guides for specific areas, while others put climate action in scientific, economic, and political contexts. The authors discuss the major sources of greenhouse gas emissions on campus and the importance of an emissions inventory for setting goals and strategies. They consider decision making (and decision makers), costs, budgets, and institutional priorities, and describe different emission reduction projects. They look at the importance of master planning for the university and the value of action by individual community members. Finally, they suggest climate action projects for the classroom and offer guidance for tapping student energy. Their aim is to inspire others to take on global warming regardless of organizational setting.


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262182584 392 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 12 illus.


$30.00 X ISBN: 9780262681667 392 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 12 illus.


Lawrence S. Bacow.


  • It is an inspirational read... Few books deal so comprehensively with mitigation of climate change in the workplace and none matches this book in terms of the higher education sector.

    David Reay

    Times Higher Education Supplement

  • With climate change and carbon emissions high on the political and educational agenda, the book is a timely reminder to the higher education sector that it needs to attend to its own performance and reputation in this area.

    Peter Hopkinson



  • Anyone who wishes to stem global warming in ways sensitive to the practical realities of running schools and businessesor who simply wishes to be an effective leader in any walk of lifewill want to read this terrific contribution to the field of higher education stewardship.

    Julian Keniry

    Director of Youth and Campus Ecology, National Wildlife Federation, and author of Ecodemia: Campus Environmental Stewardship at the Turn of the 21st Century

  • Degrees That Matter is a great piece of work. Though I've been actively working in the field of climate change for nearly a decade, this book expanded my knowledge about how universities and colleges can be powerful sources of leadership and support for advancing climate solutions. I look forward to adding this practical, hands-on guide to my resource desk.

    Debra L. Sachs

    Executive Director, Alliance for Climate Action (ACA)

  • Degrees That Matter is a terrific guide for universities that want to reduce their global warming footprint. Rappaport and Creighton explain the causes and effects of climate change and present a road map based on their own successful struggle to reduce emissions at Tufts University. This is a practical handbook for faculty, staff, and students on the methods for, and the politics of, reducing emissions on campus.

    Jonathan Lash

    President, World Resources Institute

  • Universities also teach by what they do, by the example they set. Degrees That Matter is a wonderful guide to what universities and colleges are doing today about the biggest issue of our time—climate disruption—and what should be done tomorrow.

    James Gustave Speth

    Dean, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies