Every year, featured Summit speakers challenge ACU faculty, staff and students in their lectures. This year, Shane Claiborne is challenging students before he even arrives on campus.
Claiborne, author of Irresistible Revolution, is asking students and faculty to change their habits and reduce their carbon emissions in an effort to offset the carbon footprint his journey to Abilene will create, said Brady Bryce, director of ministry events.
“This ends up being a unique request,” Bryce said. “Where most speakers are going to worry about their travel expense or meeting their fee, this is a speaker saying, ‘I care about what you do, I would like to see if you will change your habits just by me coming.’ It wasn’t a hard request at all – it was one I really admired.”
Dr. Jim Cooke, professor of agricultural and environmental sciences, said carbon is released into the atmosphere when people burn fossil fuels. This increase in carbon can cause global climate changes. He said conserving fossil fuels by not using as much energy is good for the planet.
To measure progress on this request, Bryce encourages students and faculty to fill out a form on the Summit website under the tab, “C02 Claiborne.”
The form provides students and faculty with a list of measures they could take to reduce Claiborne’s footprint, including: car pooling, biking, replacing regular light bulbs with more energy efficient ones, being conservative with the amount of heat or air conditioning used in homes or buildings, buying fair trade coffee, investing in Plant with Purpose (plantwithpurpose.org) and investing in wind energy (newwindenergy.com). Cooke also suggested walking or riding a bike to and around campus, switching electricity to a renewable energy source (powertochoose.org), making sure to turn off lights, unplugging electronics or turning off power strips when appliances are not in use, taking shorter showers, using cold water to wash clothes and dishes, using a programmable thermostat and recycling everything possible.
Emily Siegler, a graduate student from Prescott, Ariz., said she completed the form in a matter of minutes. She said she filled out the form because she began carpooling to school.
Siegler has read several of Claiborne’s books, and said she was excited to hear him speak.
“I think it’s really good because a lot of times public speakers for the environment take advantage of it,” Siegler said. “He’s bringing awareness to the environment in the way he lives. He’s not just talking about it; he’s actually living it.”
Cooke said Claiborne’s idea was a good plan to help students become aware of their responsibility to conserve natural resources.
“I’m grateful to Shane for not just talking about this, but for changing lifestyles and being a better steward of what we’ve been given,” Cooke said.
Claiborne will speak at 3 p.m. Wednesday in Moody Coliseum, followed by an extended question-and-answer session in Cullen Auditorium beginning at 4 p.m. He will also join a discussion in Brown Library with Bryce and Derek Webb on Wednesday evening after Webb’s concert at 8:30.