Education

Duke’s environment school joins list of buildings being lit green

The City Hall of Barcelona is illuminated in green last week to protest U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to take the United States out of the Paris climate accord.
The City Hall of Barcelona is illuminated in green last week to protest U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to take the United States out of the Paris climate accord. AFP/Getty Images

Two Duke University buildings focused on environmental research will be illuminated with green lights on Monday night in support of the Paris Climate Accord.

Environment Hall in Durham and the Orrin Pilkey Research Laboratory at the Duke Marine Lab in Beaufort will both feature green lighting at 9 p.m. Monday, which is UN World Environment Day.

The Duke statement in solidarity with the Paris Accord comes four days after President Donald Trump announced that he was pulling the United States out of the worldwide agreement meant to curb global warming.

Also Monday, Duke President Richard Brodhead joined with the leaders of 11 highly ranked universities to affirm the American Campuses Act on Climate Pledge, a 2015 promise by 318 universities to move toward low-carbon energy and sustainable practices. Brodhead signed the statement, along with the presidents of Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Georgetown, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford, University of Pennsylvania and Yale.

The statement said universities have a critical role to play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and advancing science-based solutions to climate change.

“The scientific consensus is clear that the climate is changing largely due to human activity, that the consequences of climate change are accelerating, and that the imperative of a low carbon future is increasingly urgent,” the statement from the 12 leaders said. “As institutions of higher education, we remain committed to a broad-based global agreement on climate change and will do our part to ensure the United States can meet its contribution.”

Environment Hall, on Circuit Drive on West Campus, is the headquarters of Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment. The glass-and-concrete building was constructed to the highest standards of environmental sustainability, known as LEED platinum certification. It has solar panels on the roof and special windows that moderate heat and light. The lighting at Environment Hall will end at 11:30 p.m. Monday.

The Orrin Pilkey lab was named for the Duke geologist, now professor emeritus, whose research has focused on barrier islands in North Carolina. He has long warned about development too close to shifting coastlines. The lab, on Pivers Island in Beaufort, will be lit green until 10 p.m. Monday.

Nicholas School Spokesman Tim Lucas said students and staff came up with the idea for the lighting to express continued support for the Paris Accord and celebrate World Environment Day. Dean Jeff Vincent readily agreed, Lucas said, and will be on hand at the event.

Jane Stancill: 919-829-4559, @janestancill

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