Loyola University Chicago

Institute of Environmental Sustainability

Climate Change Conference

Loyola recognizes the impact of global climate change to vulnerable populations and ecosystems around the world and in our backyard. Researchers are exploring climate change’s impact on natural and social systems from Chicago to Alaska to Vietnam. Locally we are reducing our footprint and making our community more resilient through human networks and the built infrastructure.

Annual Climate Change Conference

This past year's conference was held on March 15–16, 2018. You can now view videos of our conference panels, here. Our 2018 Conference Keynote Speaker was Gina McCarthy, former EPA administrator under President Obama. Gina McCarthy has been a leading advocate for common sense strategies to protect public health and the environment for more than thirty years. As the head of EPA under President Obama, she led historic progress to achieve the administration’s public health and environmental protection goals and Climate Action Plan. In 2015, McCarthy signed the Clean Power Plan, which set the first-ever national standards for reducing carbon emissions from existing power plants, underscoring the country’s commitment to domestic climate action and spurring international efforts that helped secure the Paris Climate Agreement.

Campus Climate Action Plan

At an event on September 9, 2015, the University unveiled its ambitious new Climate Action Plan which will make Loyola carbon neutral for directly controlled emissions by 2025.Read the Climate Change booklet and find a great summary in this Climate Action Plan flyer‌.

Resources for Working with Papal Encyclical

Pope Francis’ Ecology Encyclical “Laudato Si” (Praised Be To You)

Climate Change is a Moral Issue:

Creation is a gift entrusted to us by God, not only for ourselves but for future generations. Human beings are in relationship with God, one another and the earth.

The poor suffer first and the most from the impact of climate change. The cry of the earth is the cry of the poor.

The Church has an important role and perspective in this conversation:

Care for creation is a theme woven throughout our scriptures and Church teachings.

People of faith are called to participate in public life and help break through the polarized political debate that prevents us from working together.

The time to act is now:

We are called to use faith, reason and intelligence. On April 28, 2015 the Pontifical Academy of Sciences stated that human-induced climate change is a scientific reality. The evidence is as strong as the linkage between cigarettes and cancer.

We need to build a “culture of stewardship” and challenge a “throwaway culture.”

The care for creation need not compromise economic performance. Through sustainable development and green innovation we can protect the environment in a way which provides economic prosperity for all, including the poor.

Small steps matter—starting on the individual level, as well as work for institutional, national and global commitments.

Greenhouse Gas Inventories

Loyola conducts its Greenhouse Gas Inventory annually to measure our climate change emissions. With 2008 as our baseline year, we have shown emissions decreases annually, especially when compared to the number of students and square foot of facilities we manage. Click here to view Loyola's Greenhouse Gas Inventories.

Climate Adaptation

As conscientious stewards of the resources we manage, we are preparing for a future impacted by climate change. The buildings, landscapes and other assets under our care may be impacted by a changing climate. A collaborative project with the Field Museum, the Nature Conservancy and Notre Dame, created reports looking at current landscape management techniques and suggested climate-smart recommendations for the future. An internal report by the Office of Sustainability considers what Loyola has done to date to prepare for climate change. Survey of Climate Adaptation Resources for Loyola University Chicago .

Individual Action

There are many things that you can do to address global climate change. Here are 5 actions you can take to reduce your climate footprint.

  1. Turn off lights and electrics when not in use
  2. Don’t heat or cool spaces that aren’t being used
  3. Use natural daylight and fresh air when you can
  4. Go local, especially where you work and what you eat
  5. Choose lower carbon modes of transportation

Climate Change Science

Many researchers at Loyola are working on topics that directly and indirectly study the impacts of climate change. Visit our research page to see work that Loyola is doing to study and combat climate change. Read more about our research.

Climate Change Education

One of Loyola’s most important roles is engaging students from across the university in understanding climate change locally and globally. Through an annual conference, showing films, hosting speakers, sponsoring symposia and engaging our community we are addressing climate change head on. As part of the annual Energy Week, each year Loyola celebrates the Feast of St. Francis and explores the responsibility the Catholic community has in addressing climate change.

Climate Change Resources

The City of Chicago has taken a lead in addressing climate change through the Chicago Climate Action Plan. Multiple organizations have stepped forward to serve as a resource for universities and institutions as they come to understand their role in a global issue. Check these links for more information:

Climate Change and Chicago

Climate Change and Chicago-area Natural Areas

Climate Change and the Midwest

Climate Change and the Great Lakes

Climate Change Adaptation

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Resources for Universities

Resources for further reflection, prayer and action