fbpx Taking action for Mother Earth | Phillips Exeter Academy

Taking action for Mother Earth

Exeter assembles Friday for its fifth annual Climate Action Day, renewing the community's commitment to sustainability.

April 23, 2019
Exeter convenes its fifth annual Climate Action Day on Friday, April 26.

Exeter convenes its fifth annual Climate Action Day on Friday, April 26.

The consensus of the world scientific community is that human activities are estimated to have caused approximately 1.0°C (1.8°F) of global warming above pre-industrial levels. That warming is almost assured to reach 1.5°C (2.7°F) by the mid-21st century. More likely, the warming will have doubled by then.

So? What if the earth’s temperature does rise a few degrees more over pre-industrial levels? What then?

That’s what Ko Barrett intends to tell Exeter on Friday.

The vice chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — the United Nations body for assessing the science related to climate change — will serve as the keynote speaker as the Academy convenes its fifth annual Climate Action Day.

Barrett does not bear good tidings. The IPCC published a special report last fall with grim findings. Extreme heat waves, severe drought, devastating sea rise, vanishing coral reefs — all are considered likely results of a 1.5°C increase, a figure in itself called “ridiculously aspirational” by one environmental economist. Higher increases mean worse impacts. The report is considered a clarion call for global action.

Barrett’s address kicks off a day dedicated to learning more about environmental issues, both global and local. Programming includes 27 workshops, from curbing single-use plastic consumption to oyster reef restoration to environmentally responsible investing. The agenda also features two more expert guest speakers — Glaciologist M Jackson and air pollution researcher Sumil Thakrar — and eight Exeter alums.  

>> Watch the keynote and featured speakers at Exeter Live

>> See the full agenda of speakers and workshops

Exeter as an institution has committed to being a responsible, engaged citizen; sustainability is a community-wide aspiration. Five years ago, Community Action Day was recast as Climate Action Day, sharpening the focus of the daylong, campus-wide initiative around sustainability and environmental issues. It remains one of just three days on the academic calendar — joining Academy Life Day and MLK Day — when the regular class schedule is interrupted for concentrated programming. Learn more about PEA's commitment to sustainability.