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President Drake reflects on Earth Day

UC President Michael V. Drake issued the following statement in recognition of Earth Day on April 22, 2022:

Each year, Earth Day provides an opportunity to stop and appreciate the beauty and wonder of our planet. It’s also a time to reflect on what we can do — as individuals and as a society — to protect our environment and ensure a healthy and equitable climate future for all.

At the University of California, we have been deeply committed for decades to addressing the climate crisis head-on. We are on our way to achieving bold systemwide goals of transitioning to 100 percent clean electricity and becoming carbon neutral by 2025. Just last year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded the University of California a 2021 Green Power Leadership Award for accelerating the transition to clean energy.

In so many ways, we’re using education, research, thoughtful investments and public service to protect our communities from the impacts of our changing climate and to accelerate the world’s transition to clean energy. Last year, we launched the UC Center for Climate Justice, and soon we will launch the UC Center for Climate, Health and Equity. These centers will advance research at the intersection of climate change, social justice and health inequities. And research scientists across the University are focused on alleviating climate risks right here in California through comprehensive research on wildfire mitigation, coastal flooding, water security, and more.

With similar goals in mind, we also opened the Alice Waters Institute for Regenerative Agriculture and Edible Education at UC Davis, which combines strong partnerships in food justice and sustainability research that drive innovation in equitable food systems and regenerative agriculture while simultaneously addressing climate change. Regenerative farming is one way to support the synergistic relationship between producing healthy food in a sustainable manner and soil sequestration of atmospheric carbon. We look forward to expanding these programs and many other effective partnerships across the state.

We have significant work ahead of us, but I am proud of the climate leadership shown by our students, faculty and staff. I am also grateful to state and federal leaders for supporting our efforts — Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposed state budget includes a $185 million investment in UC’s climate resilience work. Collectively, we recognize the urgency of this endeavor, and we will continue to work together to address the impacts of climate change on our communities and on the planet.

The choices we make today can lead to a better tomorrow. Let us be thoughtful, creative and brave in the fight against climate change.

Fiat Lux,
Michael V. Drake, M.D.
President, University of California

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