One of the core components of NOLS’ curriculum is Leave No Trace (LNT). Good wilderness ethics are essential for groups in the backcountry, but what about LNT for the front country? Allow me to introduce your front country LNT leaders: Team 2020! Team 2020 was established to facilitate the goal of a 30 percent reduction in carbon emissions schoolwide by the year 2020.
With everything from solar arrays to alternative transportation, NOLS’ Team 2020 focuses on a variety of sustainability topics. Since the team was first developed, issues pertaining to both improving sustainability and maintaining current sustainability initiatives have impacted a variety of areas at NOLS. When the team meets to discuss progress and brainstorm new ideas, they consider NOLS facilities and vehicles in Alaska, Patagonia, Australia, and everywhere in between.
What are some of the issues that Team 2020 has been tackling lately? Expanding solar arrays at several NOLS locations and establishing new solar arrays is a big focus. The team is also working towards the major goal of expanding alternative fuels and vehicles for transportation. There is a geothermal system being established at NOLS Patagonia, as well as water conservation efforts being facilitated in the Southwest.
While these more glamorous initiatives are extremely important, small changes being made throughout the school are also crucial to the mission. Recycling, turning off lights, and facility efficiency improvements are small adjustments that are making a big difference.
Respecting the environment in the front country represents a higher level of stewardship to the earth. In order to fully embrace the wilderness and ensure its health for years to come, Team 2020 is applying LNT ethics to everyday life.
Becca is the spring 2015 Stewardship and Sustainability intern at NOLS.