The first new school in 70 years to focus on sustainable development will be established at Stanford University. climate crisis, after a historic $ 1.1 billion donation from venture capitalist John Doer.
The gift from Doer and his wife Anne is the largest in university history and one of the largest donations ever made to an academic institution. Combined with nearly $ 600 million from other donors Stanford School of Sustainable Development will host departments related to climate change, Earth and planetary sciences, energy technology, sustainable cities, the environment, food and water security, human society and behavior, and human health and the environment.
The school, which will include the existing Stanford Woods Institute of Environment and the Precourt Institute of Energy, will address short-term and long-term climate and sustainability issues. The Accelerator program will focus on technology-related projects and policies to address immediate environmental injustice; research will assess the impact of current innovations, anticipating future challenges.
“We don’t know all the problems we will face in the future – we know what we know today. But basic research will reveal some of the new problems that will arise and hit the points of how to solve them, “said the first dean of the school Arun Majumdar. “This organization reflects the needs and requirements of today.”
Majumdar said the school will work with fossil fuel companies that are in line with university policies that assess companies ’ethical investment structures in relation to environmental damage.
“We need to remove dozens of gigatons of CO2if not hundreds of gigaton CO2 and methane from the atmosphere. … Universities alone cannot do that, ”Majumadar said, adding that there is a willingness to work with companies that are committed to removing methane from the environment“ be it batteries, solar cells, different types of wind turbines or transmission systems, electricity markets and negative CO emissions2».
In May 2020, the Vice-Rector and the President of the University adopted the recommendation of the Faculty Commission to establish a school. Stanford passed on the idea to the Doerr family, who agreed to make a donation, said President Mark Tessier-Lavigne. Doerr, pioneering Silicon Valley a venture capitalist known for his leading investments in firms such as Amazon, Google and Netscape.
While scientists and scholars from Stanford are already working on issues related to sustainability and climate change, they believe that more can be achieved with the school of sustainability.
“The magnitude of this challenge required us to scale our efforts properly, and for that we needed to reorganize our focus,” said Tessie-Lavin. “The younger generation is concerned about the fate of the planet and they want to be involved in practical activities. It creates opportunities for our students, but it is also important for our undergraduates and graduate students. ”
This is a mission that is approaching home. Tessie Lavigne, Majumdar and Doerri, who spoke to The Times on Wednesday, have daughters who are young people passionate about sustainability and climate.
John Doyer said his daughters demanded that his generation restore the climate after watching Al Gore’s film “The Inconvenient Truth”. This has prompted the family to take part in such issues, and he believes that such attention to environmental issues is the way of the future in education.
“I think we will see that sustainability and climate science will become the new computer science. It will create great opportunities and pleasure from a well-lived life and a job well done. ”
The school will start working with 90 teachers, in the next 10 years it is planned to expand them to 150. The school will open on September 1, said Tessie-Lavigne. A curriculum is currently being developed.