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From President Drake: Protecting our planet for generations to come

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This month, the University of California will join communities and organizations around the world in marking Earth Day. Although the University is focused on sustainability and climate resilience year-round, I appreciate this annual opportunity to reflect on the beauty and wonder of our natural environment, and to think about how we can do even more to preserve it for future generations. As the American poet and naturalist Wendell Berry wrote, “The Earth is what we all have in common.”

Earth Day 2023 comes at a pivotal moment for our planet. Last month, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — the leading world body for assessing the science and impacts of climate change — released its most in-depth report to date. The panel emphasized the need for urgent, coordinated action to combat the worst effects of climate change on humans, communities, and ecosystems around the globe. 

As the world’s leading research university and a pioneer on climate action, the University of California remains committed to doing our part. Earlier this year, the University announced $15 million in climate innovation grants for UC researchers — just one part of a historic $185 million partnership with the state of California focused on finding scalable solutions to our climate crisis. Later this year, the University will award $80 million in additional grants to advance climate equity and resilience in communities across California.

This effort is just one of the many bold sustainability initiatives underway across UC’s campuses, medical centers, and labs. On Earth Day and throughout this month, I encourage everyone in the UC community to seek out sustainability- and climate-focused events on your campuses and in your communities, to learn more about this work, and to make a personal commitment to get or stay engaged. Together, we have the power to protect our planet — our beautiful shared home — for generations to come.

Fiat Lux!

Michael V. Drake, M.D.
University of California

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