Silliman University joins the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United Nations, and many governments and scientists around the world in declaring a Climate Emergency.
Silliman University acknowledges that the science of climate change is well established, that climate change is real, that its main cause is human activities especially the burning of fossil fuel, and that its consequences are grave. Global average temperatures continue to increase due to rising concentrations of greenhouse gases, resulting in greater frequency and intensity of extreme weather events such as heatwaves, droughts, flooding, and typhoons, which impact millions around the world. The Philippines is especially vulnerable to these and other climate impacts including storm surges, the loss of our coastal areas due to rising sea levels, and the loss of our coral reefs due to acidification of the oceans.
As a Christian educational institution committed to total human development for the wellbeing of society and the environment, Silliman University recognizes the urgency of addressing the climate emergency. Already the university has put in place various initiatives for greenhouse gas emission reduction. Through the installation of solar panels on various buildings and a special contract with a clean energy corporation, Silliman is powered entirely by renewable energy — avoiding 2,602 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) for its first two-year contract1. Through its Environmental Principles, Policies, and Guidelines, adopted by the Board of Trustees in 2018, the university has employed a Zero Waste strategy that has reduced waste and associated greenhouse gas emissions. The university is a wildlife sanctuary as declared by the Board of Trustees in 2019 and remains committed to preserving nature and its vital role in sequestering carbon dioxide, another climate mitigation measure.
As a second home to students from all around the Philippines and the world, Silliman University is aware that children and youth, our future and current students, are among the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and by declaring a climate emergency, we call for their protection and future well-being.
Declaring a Climate Emergency affirms Silliman’s commitment to mother earth. Silliman further commits to:
1. Continue utilizing 100% renewable energy as a source of electricity
2. Identify pathways to become a carbon-neutral university by 2030 or sooner
3. Mobilize more resources for action-oriented climate change education and service learning in the university
4. Continue to support research on climate change mitigation and adaptation and the application of research results to benefit society
5. Create a University Climate Adaptation and Mitigation Committee from various sectors of the school and its community to generate ideas and create broad-based momentum for acting on the declaration
6. Support and collaborate with various stakeholders, particularly, the Philippine government, local government units, non-governmental organizations, civil society organization, and movements in their climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts.
Along with this declaration of emergency is also a call to action to our duty-bearers, from local to global, to accelerate climate mitigation efforts to limit global average temperature increase to 1.5°C by 2030, thereby avoiding irreversible impacts of climate change.
This declaration, guided by our Christian values, serves as our commitment to God, our students, alumni, other stakeholders, and the Filipino people, in ensuring a healthier planet and climate-safe future.
*Declaration adopted by the Silliman University Board of Trustees during its Special Meeting on November 11, 2022.