Letter to the Editor: Truman should take climate action

During 2018, we began the Truman Climate Initiative campaign to encourage the University to address the climate crisis, a global, existential threat to civilization and the biosphere’s integrity. The initiative asked the University community to endorse the following statement.

“Climate change imperils the integrity of the biosphere and so threatens not only humans but all other living things with which we share the world.  As members of a community dedicated to deep, careful and critical thinking about our nature and circumstance, we need to fully embrace the profound challenge humanity faces in coming to terms with the global and unprecedented crisis we have created. 

To this end, we, the undersigned, urge our fellow Truman students, staff, faculty, administrators and friends to work toward achieving carbon neutrality by 2030 in accordance with the goals articulated in the Paris Accord. “ 

We solicited support by lobbying faculty members, either individually or in department meetings, to lend their support by signing the document. Although we were unable to contact all faculty, about 80% of approximately 200 endorsed the initiative. Following this, we took the initiative to Faculty Senate on April 23, 2019, where a unanimous voice vote supported the initiative. Additionally, we were grateful for several student activists who gathered hundreds of student signatures endorsing the initiative. Ultimately, the activists used these to successfully lobby Student Government to also support the effort.

In response to this compelling support, President Thomas charged the President’s Sustainability Action Committee to begin making the initiative’s goal a reality. While PSAC met in good faith several times in  Fall 2019, they have met seldom, if at all, since the new COVID reality.

So, what happened? It has been more than two years, and it is unclear what action, if any, has been taken. Maybe concrete implementations have begun. Maybe intentions fell by the wayside. In either event, the University community deserves to know.  


Pete Goldman, Emeritus, Biology

Christine Harker, English and Linguistics

Will Henrickson, President, Student Climate Union