Why Does Clean Energy Matter? Insights from #CleanEnergyU

Sue Hall

So what happens when you bring leading universities and their students together with fortune 100 companies, non-profit leaders and climate/energy experts to engage in a twitter conversation via #cleanenergyu regarding why clean energy matters to them?

A surprisingly engaged conversation

Gone were the twitter feeds with monocrop commentary from one point of view: in its place, an ecosystem of #cleanenergyu voices ranging from University Presidents and corporate VP’s to students, entrepreneurs, wilderness experts and non-profit CEOs.

Gaining 3m social media impressions via 380 posts in just 7 days, #cleanenergyu powered a far-reaching conversation. Intrigued to learn more? Here’s how…

Leadership voices – with unexpected points of view

Amidst this stakeholder diversity, the conversation also reflected some unexpected points of view with University Presidents focused on how companies can reverse commerce’s impact on the climate – and corporate directors emphasizing clean energy’s purpose as powering the future they want for their children.

Ben McCall, UI-UC’s resident astronomer even framed the #cleanenergyu challenge from the universe’s perspective: “Only decades of fossil fuels left; over a billion years of solar energy left. Go solar!”

Creative student voices – with entrepreneurial solutions

Yet student voices were clearly the most creative and far-reaching – driving towards entrepreneurial solutions. From addressing sea level rise and health-related climate impacts to opposing Keystone XL and unsustainable university endowments, students’ voices cornered the creative #cleanenergyu solutions market. Their entrepreneurial innovations ranged from pedal powered clean water to waterborne greenhouses.

So if UW-SP’s Chancellor Patterson is right in his conviction that “
our clean-energy projects give hands-on experiences to our future sustainability leaders,” then these lateral-thinking students will be likely be delivering a remarkably diverse set of climate solutions toward our #cleanenergyu future — with the new jobs and opportunities that accompany it.

International Engagement

Yet students’ ambitions were not constrained to a US-centric point of view. As BU sustainability@BU students engaged with Mark Kenber, CEO at the Climate Group, the British Medical Association and Anglia Water during the UK’s live #BackClimateAction tweetathon conversation, student perspectives in Beijing prioritized “A future free from smog … Let’s work together to create a cleaner and healthier environment.”

Thought leaders, such as Chevy Environmental Advisor, Eban Goodstein also focused on campus’ vital contribution to delivering on our new international accords: “US and China have just committed to big carbon goals for 2030: colleges have a critical role.”

Since such international agreements are major drivers towards a clean energy future, it’s encouraging to see students already leading the #cleanenergyu conversation across these global frontiers.  As Snehal Desai recognized: “#CleanEnergyU chipping away at 2030 ‪#Carbon Goals. The next generation is walking the talk.”

Consensus re: clean energy’s priority – people care!

And so, amidst a conversation spanning Boston to the Baltics, the shared importance placed upon a #cleanenergyu future was palpable. Join the conversation today to share your thoughts on why this future also matters to you…

Sue Hall
CEO, Climate Neutral Business Network